In a column for MSNBC, conservative commentator and Bulwark founder Charlie Sykes claims that Republicans used the lessons they learned after the deadly Charlottesville protest -- when Donald Trump praised the white nationalists -- to duck responsibility to condemn the Jan 6th Capitol rioters.
Coming just days after organizers of the "Unite the Right" rally lost a multi-million dollar civil suit for the damage they fomented in Virginia, Sykes claimed that -- looking back at the GOP response -- it should be evident that Republicans' silence on Charlottesville was a "dress rehearsal" for dealing with the fall-out of the insurrection that threatened to topple the 2020 presidential election results and throw the country into chaos.
According to Sykes, GOP lawmakers learned a lesson from Charlottesville -- and it was the wrong one that will haunt the U.S. for decades.
"Four years ago, after former President Donald Trump referred to some of the participants in the deadly rally as 'very fine people,' Republicans had a chance to make it clear where they stood," he wrote before suggesting GOP lawmakers, "could have issued a historic denunciation of bigotry. They could have denounced anti-Semitism. They could have announced that there was no place for white nationalists in the party. They could have drawn a bright, red line against political violence — and attempts to normalize violence."
However, as he pointed out, "Instead, for the most part, Republicans either looked the other way, kept quiet or went along with Trump's gaslighting denials that he had, in fact, said what he said."
"In many ways, the response to Charlottesville was a dress rehearsal for the right's response to the Jan. 6 insurrection. The same group that adamantly denied that Trump had praised racists as 'very fine people' are now pushing revisionist versions of what happened at the Capitol," he bluntly stated.
Noting prominent conservatives who are defending the Capitol rioters -- as well as GOP lawmakers who have threatened violence against their colleagues -- in much the same way that Trump lauded the neo-Nazis, Sykes added Republicans are in no hurry to disavow violence if it serves their purposes and will continue to keep their heads down until the latest aftermath of Trump-inspired violence blows over.
"That's the lesson of Charlottesville and Jan. 6. It's all cosplay, bravado and make believe. Until it's not," he wrote. "A mature political party would sense the danger and dial down the rhetoric. A decent political party would expel the bigots and extremists. A responsible political party would purge advocates of violence. Don't expect that to happen anytime soon."
You can read more here.
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