Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) used the infamous Charlottesville “very fine people” hoax to argue that the Senate had to convict former President Donald Trump to prevent him from running for office ever again.
Raskin used footage from Trump appearances since 2015 to argue that he had encouraged his supporters to be violent, and condoned violence after the fact.
That, Raskin said, had “conditioned his supporters to participate” in the Capitol riot.
He included the August 2017 Charlottesville riot, implying that torch-wielding neo-Nazis were Trump supporters. Then he played a selectively-edited video of the press conference in which Trump referred to “very fine people on both sides.”
Raskin edited out Trump’s condemnations of violence, and his specific statement: “I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally.”
Raskin also suggested that Trump was responsible for the riot, and for the murder of Heather Heyer, a left-wing protester who was killed by a neo-Nazi who drove into a crowd.
He also incorrectly identified the location of Charlottesville, Virginia, as Charlottesville, North Carolina.
- Aug. 12, 2017: Trump condemned “violence “on many sides” in Charlottesville, after neo-Nazi and Antifa clashes
- Aug. 14, 2017: Trump condemned “neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups” in White House statement
- Aug. 15, 2017: Trump condemned neo-Nazis “totally,” praised non-violent protesters “on both sides” of statue debate
As to “very fine people,” Trump had been referring to peaceful protests both for and against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The New York Times itself confirmed that some people who were in Charlottesville were not extremists but had come simply to protest about the statute.
President Joe Biden used the “very fine people hoax” throughout his campaign, even after being told it was untrue.
At no point did Raskin refer to violence from the left, whether associated with the Black Lives Matter riots, or indeed the Antifa rioters who were also present in Charlottesville.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.