Panelists on ABC struggled to one-up each other in over-the-top comparisons between the end of Trump’s presidency and the downfalls of infamous totalitarian regimes, pushing the usual Trump-as-Hitler comparisons to the limit.
The panelists sparred over whether the country should submit to a “truth and reconciliation” commission before the newly inaugurated Biden administration can implement his touted agenda of “unity” and “healing.” Some argued that former President Donald Trump had done too much damage for the country to simply move ahead with business as usual, while others want him to get to work on restoring ‘normalcy’ – or at least subjecting both sides to the same level of prosecution.
With Trump’s impeachment trial looming in the coming weeks, the rhetoric has gotten more heated. The Republican Party is split between those who still support Trump and those who can’t wait to see him disappear, while Democrats want the former president in prison and haven’t hesitated to place his alleged crimes alongside those of some of history’s most notorious dictatorships.
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“Other countries have gone through this before – Germany, Japan, South Africa,” Republican political strategist Matthew Dowd insisted during Sunday’s ‘This Week’ program. “Before you get to reconciliation and healing, you have to have some element of truth and accountability-ness [sic].”
Perhaps realizing that comparing Trump’s departure from the White House under the shadow of a second impeachment to Hitler’s bunker suicide following the Nazi defeat, the post-WW2 Allied occupation of Japan amid the fallout from nuclear bombs, or South Africa after the fall of apartheid was over the top even for ABC, Dowd pulled back. The post-Trump era could instead be more like the aftermath of the Civil War, he warned.
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln derailed the president’s post-war “idea of forming a thing and demanding truth” about slavery, Dowd argued, pitching the country into 100 more years of racism before the civil rights movement emerged in the mid-20th century.
Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed, explaining that Trump was up to his eyeballs in white supremacy and had to be held accountable for the Capitol riot. Protesters wearing execrable “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirts had committed a crime on which there could be no statute of limitations, he suggested.
“If you have a wound in the body politic, it must be disinfected to be cleaned,” Emanuel declared, trying his own hand at Nazi-esque rhetoric. “It is not going to get better in the next three to four weeks,” he continued. He implied there could be no “moral equivalency” between prosecuting rioters destroying property in Portland and rioters destroying property while waving a Confederate flag in Washington, DC, because only the latter meant “defending the Constitution and the organizing principles and values of this country.”
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Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pushed back against the pair, arguing Biden owed it to the country to treat Black Lives Matter rioters who laid waste to cities like Portland with the same heavy hand as Democrats sought to prosecute Capitol rioters. Rioters in Portland, Seattle, and several other cities where BLM demonstrations have caused extensive property damage were repeatedly let off the hook, according to Republicans.
Dowd, however, insisted Biden should get a pass on his critics’ calls for unity, healing, and fiscal responsibility, arguing four years of Trump had so damaged the US that it earned the new president a respite from doing his presidential duties right away. “Give me a break about calling Joe Biden out for any of this right now, because of what happened over the last four years,” he said.
Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate is set to begin on February 9th. Earlier this month he became the first president ever to be impeached twice, after he was blamed for inciting the Capitol riot on January 6 by addressing a group of protesters outside the White House who then swarmed the building while Congress was in session.
Five people altogether died during the Capitol riot – three due to “medical emergencies” and two violently – while at least 25 Americans were killed in and around the often-violent demonstrations from May to October – both BLM and pro-Trump rallies.
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