House Democrats, joined by a handful of Republicans, voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time this week.
As in previous attempts to demonize the president, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) resorted to some startling imagery to make his point, at one point comparing Trump to al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, The Hill noted.
“Inspiring the attack”
The Democrat’s divisive language was part of a larger pattern among his party to paint the president as someone intent on provoking violence ahead of last week’s violent siege of the U.S. Capitol building. For his part, Swalwell’s comparison came on Tuesday evening during an interview with PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff.
He explained his belief that Trump should be impeached for allegedly “inciting insurrection” with a speech delivered shortly before a group of supporters stormed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 as Congress met to ratify the Electoral College vote tally.
According to Breitbart, Woodruff put forward the GOP position that Trump had called for a “peaceful” march on Capitol Hill, which Swalwell completely rejected.
“Well, Osama bin Laden did not enter U.S. soil on September 11, but it was widely acknowledged he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country,” the congressman declared, as Breitbart reported.
Swalwell went on to declare that Trump’s rhetoric — particularly the admonition to “fight” on his behalf — and speeches by his surrogates inspired the deadly attack that followed.
“That itself is a crime”
“With the speakers that he assembled that day, who called for ‘trial by combat’ and said we have to ‘take names and kick ass,’ that is hate speech that inspired and radicalized people to storm the Capitol,” the lawmaker claimed.
Swalwell also cited FBI interviews with suspects who said “that they were called there by the president” and “were there in the Capitol because the president told them to do so,” but the host interjected to push back on her guest’s prior incendiary remarks.
“Are you comparing President Trump to Osama bin Laden?” Woodruff asked.
But Swalwell remained defiant, explaining: “I’m comparing the words of an individual who would incite and radicalize somebody, as Osama bin Laden did, to what President Trump did. You don’t actually have to commit the violence yourself, but if you call others to violence, that itself is a crime.”
Although Swalwell clearly has a penchant for outrageous hyperbole, many Americans would argue that comparing the president to an Islamic terror leader might be an example of the supposedly inciteful language that has no place in the public discourse.