Representative Eric Swalwell (D-CA) said Wednesday during PBS’s impeachment coverage that President Donald Trump had “radicalized” his supporters the same way the late terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had.
Anchor Judy Woodruff said, “Another argument the Republicans are making is that yes, the people who stormed the Capitol, they should be held accountable, but President Trump himself wasn’t part of the mob. They keep citing one of the words he used in his speech to the crowd last Wednesday. They said he used the word peaceful. He wanted them to be peaceful, among many other words he spoke. They’re saying holding him accountable is different from the people who were directly involved in tearing down the doors and rampaging the Capitol building.”
Swalwell said, “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 president, with his words, using the words ‘Fight,’ 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. When you read the indictments from the U.S. Attorney’s office of people who have been arrested, in their FBI interviews, they cite that they were called there by the president. They were there in the Capitol because the president told them to do so. We must hold the president accountable for his inciting words.”
Woodruff asked, “Are you comparing President Trump to Osama bin Laden?”
Swalwell said, “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.”
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