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Marjorie Taylor Greene inverts reality, claims insurrectionists are victims of racism
Also: Republican senator raises possibility of nuking Russia, quickly walks it back.
Former President Donald Trump and his supporters have spent the last 11 months making a martyr out of Ashli Babbitt, one of four Trump supporters who lost their lives during the January 6 insurrection, despite the fact that Babbitt was clearly culpable for her own death. Now, an extremely Trumpy group of House Republicans are similarly trying to flip reality on its head and turn insurrectionists who are still in jail into heroes.
They’re going to desperate lengths to do this. During a news conference on Tuesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) made a deeply ironic and absurd claim — that the few dozen people still being held in a District of Columbia jail in connection with charges stemming from the January 6 insurrection are actually victims of anti-white racism.
“They are ridiculed … they are mocked because of their political beliefs and because of January 6 and because of the color of their skin,” Greene said. “So there is a two-tiered justice system, and these are the things that need to end.”
The truth is closer to the exact opposite of what Greene claimed. As the New York Times explained last month, treatment of the January 6 defendants in the DC jail has gotten attention because they’re white.
“Despite longstanding problems at the jail, it took the arrival of a small group of out-of-town — and largely white — defendants to finally get anyone to care,” reporter Alan Feuer wrote for the Times.
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While Greene saying something false is not exactly breaking news, her attempt to flip racism in America on its head and make it seems as though white Trump-supporting insurrectionists are victims of it is notable. Also notable were the lies she told in an effort to make the case that the J6 defendants are being brainwashed.
“They’re being represented by public defenders that call them white supremacists, tell them they have to denounce President Trump, tell them they have to denounce their political views, want them to watch videos and read books that basically [are] critical race theory training,” she said.
“They are told their views are the views of cult members, even though these are men that every single night at 9 o’clock at night, they put their hand over their heart and sing the national anthem voluntarily,” Greene added.
All of his would be big, if true. But as HuffPost report Ryan Reilly pointed out, Greene’s claim about critical race theory training appears to be a reference to a court-appointed lawyer who’s merely encouraged her clients to educate themselves by reading books like “Just Mercy” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and watching films like “Schindler’s List” while they’re in jail. As Reilly has detailed, the defendants actually seem pretty happy about it.
And while Greene wants you to believe that the J6 defendants are patriotic Americans who sing the national anthem every night and are being persecuted because of their support for Trump, the reality is that some of them are charged with serious crimes, including assaulting police officers and threatening witnesses. They are not still in jail because of their political convictions.
To be clear, there are real concerns about conditions at the DC jail, including “threats from guards, standing sewage, and scant food and water,” as the Times put it. But these are longstanding issues at the facility that are receiving more attention now because of the publicity surrounding the J6 defendants.
Greene was joined at the news conference by Republicans Reps. Matt Gaetz (FL), Paul Gosar (AZ), and Louie Gohmert (TX). At one point, a reporter pointed out that while all four of them are very concerned about the treatment of defendants charged with crimes connected to an attempt to overthrow an election, they’re noticeably less so about the 150 police officers who were injured on January 6 (not to mention Brian Sicknick, the officer who was assaulted by insurrectionists and died on January 7).
Tuesday’s news conference was part of a broader Trumpworld effort to transform the insurrection from the violent attack on democracy we all witnessed to a fantasy of love and peacefulness that was ruined by overzealous cops — a myth that will no doubt be a big topic during the midterms and the 2024 presidential election, assuming Trump is the Republican nominee.
One minor problem for the Gaetzes and Trumps of the world is that the facts don’t fit the victimhood narrative they’re trying to push. But as Greene’s string of absurd claims during Tuesday’s news conference demonstrated, she and her allies are comfortable along the well-trod path of alternative ones.
Republican senator casually raises possibility of nuking Russia
The Greene news conference was a sideshow, but the most significant story of the day was the 2-hour virtual summit held between President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin as tensions mount over Russian troops massing along its border with Ukraine.
While all indications are that the Biden-Putin discussion was relatively amicable, the troop movements have raised concerns that Russia could be preparing for another invasion of Ukraine, which might spark armed conflict between Russia and NATO.
During a news conference on Tuesday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan tried to tamp down tensions, saying that while Biden “reiterated America’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” during his talks with Putin, the president remains hopeful that “deescalation and diplomacy” can still win the day.
But Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), the second-ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Service Committee, took a very different approach during an interview on Fox News. Not only did Wicker float the idea of US forces bombing Russian military assets in retaliation for a possible invasion of Ukraine, but he also said a nuclear strike shouldn’t be ruled out.
After the above clip went viral, Wicker’s office reached out to clarify that the senator is not advocating for the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, but merely urging the president to fully consider all measures to prevent Russia from overtaking an ally. (Note, however, that Wicker repeatedly said “we” in the clip, so the attempt to say he was addressing Biden seems to be a bit of damage control.)
Meanwhile, on Fox News, Tucker Carlson used his opening monologue to defend Putin and argue against the notion that American lawmakers should care about Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the first place. (Laura Ingraham took basically the same position on her show.)
Those comments came less than a month after Carlson expressed bewilderment during an interview with Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) about why we’d be allies with Ukraine instead of Russia in the first place, especially since Russia has more energy reserves.
"We’re on the side of democracy,” Turner reminded him.
“I guess,” replied Carlson.
It’s almost enough to give one the impression that if armed conflict did break out between US forces and Russian ones — and God forbid — Carlson would be a bit conflicted about which side to support. He certainly seems to hold Putin in higher esteem than he does President Biden.