Hating Trump is no excuse for comparing 1/6 to 9/11

“I’d like to see Jan. 6 burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11.” 

So said George Will on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, in what is a growing chorus by super-serious people in political media pushing a super-insulting comparison between the Jan. 6 Capitol riots and the 9/11 attacks that occurred almost 20 years ago. 

“We have a political party defined by the terror it feels for its own voters. That’s the Republican Party right now,” Will argued. “Every elected official is frightened of his voters, therefore doesn’t respect his voters and doesn’t like his voters and is afraid that a vote for this would be seen as an insult to the 45th president.”  

Yep, that’s right: George Will — once one of the most respected political pundits on television — is pushing for a 1/6 commission. Making that argument on its own, without evoking 9/11, is fine, a subject reasonably open to rigorous debate. But to somehow tie Sept. 11 as a reasonable comparison is patently offensive not only to the memories of the nearly 3,000 people who died that day but to all of the families who think about what happened every day since, not to mention all of the children who never got to meet or remember their mothers and fathers who died that day.  


I have publicly denounced, on multiple occasions, the Jan. 6 riot. Those responsible for it should have the book thrown at them. Then-President Trump’s rhetoric, about an allegedly stolen election, in the weeks leading up to the Capitol Hill riot helped to fuel the anger we saw that day, as I have written before. But having also been in New York City on 9/11, the morning the planes hit the World Trade Center, and still recalling the horrific images of at least 200 people jumping from the towers to avoid being burned to death, I cannot understand how 1/6 can be responsibly compared to 9/11. 

Of course, Will doesn’t mention that maybe, just maybe, there’s a political motivation for such a commission, as it would thrust Trump to center stage once again. In the process, such a commission and the blanket media coverage its hearings would create would take attention off the trillions of dollars in new spending that Democrats hope to ram through Congress in an unprecedented spending spree that already is leading to very real inflation concerns, as well as sparking double-digit food and gas price increases. The Department of Labor reports that April had the highest rate of inflation since 2008, for example. Gas is already $1 higher per gallon on average than it was one year ago. 

And the commission talk diverts the focus away from the crisis that is a catastrophe at the U.S. southern border, which the administration seemingly has little interest in fixing. Or from the violent crime that continues to skyrocket in Democratic-run cities, most notably in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Homicides in Portland are up 800 percent, compared to the same time last year. The numbers are here.

But no matter: The chorus around this stupid comparison between 1/6 and 9/11 continues to be made publicly. Enter HuffPost’s senior White House correspondent S.V. Dáte, who actually argues that 1/6 was “1000 percent worse” than Sept. 11.

And then there’s Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig, who told CNN last weekend that the 1/6 riots were a “9/11 moment too, domestically. There were attackers. Unfortunately, there are many, many people in the country who have been stoked to believe that those attackers were doing something patriotic. And Republicans have played into that.”

Hyperbole is a thing these days in public discourse as it plays out on cable news. For instance, we have had politicians who compared facilities at the border during the Trump administration to “concentration camps,” in reference to the Holocaust. Those comparisons magically disappeared when Joe Biden became president. We saw the 45th president compared to Hitler, Stalin and Mao, through the prism of murdering his own citizens, even all at once.  


Sadly, this kind of rhetoric only leads to more division, more hate. 

One would think George Will and others would think twice before going down Hyperbole Highway. Well, think again. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill. 

Tags 9/11 Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Donald Trump George Will Jan. 6 capitol riot Joe Biden

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