“What Senator Schumer was saying was that he was upset. He was alarmed, he was concerned at the prospect that justices would reverse decades of a well-established fundamental constitutional right in our country. What he did not say was let’s go attack them.”
—–Sen. Chris Coons on Fox News, explaining why Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s direct threat to Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh that they “have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions” was not a call for violence, while President Trump’s address to supporters on 1/6/2020 was inciting an “insurrection.”
Yes, I’ve decided to establish a separate sub-category of Unethical Quotes of the Month until the despicable January 6 Committee blight on ethics and democracy has run its course. Virtually every utterance by a member of that committee is a lie, a veiled partisan attack, or a pretense of legitimate Congressional process in the midst of a disgraceful show trial. The contemptible Rep. Adam Schiff, just as he did (falsely) regarding the Mueller investigation, has promised that he has seen “conclusive” and damning evidence without ever producing it. Liz Cheney is unethical almost every time she opens her mouth, and even when she doesn’t open her mouth: for example, the committee has subpoenaed Bill Stepien, a former Trump campaign manager, who is currently advising Cheney’s opponent, Harriet Hageman, for the Wyoming primary in August. As George Costanza would say, “Worlds are colliding!” Cheney has a direct interest in undermining a political opponent, and that conflicts with her duty to serve on the committee objectively and…oh, what am I saying? The whole J6 effort is a obvious partisan effort to smear Republicans in general and Terrifying Trump in particular. Never mind.
Still, Coons winning the prize today is quite an accomplishment, especially since he isn’t even on the committee. However, his candidacy was put over the top by the fact that his claimed “distinction” between Schumer’s words, which were unambiguously threatening, and Trump’s words to his supporters, which urged a “peaceful and patriotic” protest, is so utterly ridiculous and insulting to any listeners intelligence.
BRETT BAIER: All right. Last thing before we get to January 6. The law [sic] has been made this week about words, how much they matter, how much stirring the pot, giving the green light to violence in any way, shape, or form is unacceptable.Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price.
You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAIER: On the steps of the Supreme Court, did those words qualify, Senator?
COONS: So here’s a key distinction. What Senator Schumer was saying was that he was upset. He was alarmed, he was concerned at the prospect that justices would reverse decades of a well-established fundamental constitutional right in our country. What he did not say was let’s go attack them. The point of the January 6th hearing is to prove that that is in fact what President Trump did, that he, in the words of Congresswoman Cheney, summoned the mob, stirred up the mob and then lit the fuse that sent them storming the Capitol of the United States. I do think there’s a distinguishable difference between what we just heard from Senator Schumer and the actions taken by former President Trump and his circle of advisors in the days before January 6th.
Taking the last of Coons’ weasel words first, the question was about the double standard being used regarding Schumer’s words and Trump’s words. Because there is no way to deny the hypocrisy (as Coon’s preceding huminhumina nonsense proved), he shifts the metaphorical goalposts at the end, comparing Schumer’s words to “actions taken by former President Trump and his circle of advisors.”
The first statement Coons makes is the most desperate and unethical, though. Schumer warning the justices that “they won’t know what hit them” if they don’t decide cases the way he wants is excusable, Coons says, because “he was upset.” Baier revealed his lack of competence by not challenging this on the spot. A properly zealous host would have said, “He was upset? That’s your distinction? If the President had said to the crowd on January 6, “Let’s go and teach those election-stealing bastards a lesson!” with his face contorted with rage, would you have accepted, ‘Well, he was upset’ as a defense?” Does emotion justify unethical words or conduct? Is that the position of your party?”
You know, it just might be. No Democratic leader has publicly condemned the pro-abortion firebombing of pro-life pregnancy centers. How hard is that? Granted, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is sadly incompetent, slow-witted hack, but she has shown that she can read her notes. How hard would it have been for the White House to direct her to state unequivocally that the President unequivocally condemns the violence directed at the Centers. Yet when asked by RealClearPolitics’ Philip Wegmann to address the bombings, Biden’s Paid Liar could only say that the Department of Justice was “looking into it” and “taking them seriously.” After all, those pro-abortion activists are upset! You can’t really blame them.
I digress; back to Coons. After the “he was upset” howler, Coons falsely implied that Trump said anything that could be interpreted as “let’s attack them,” when he urged, as I already noted, a peaceful protest. Coons then described abortion as a “well-established right.” As most legal scholars (which he is not), including the late Justice Ginsberg, agree, the problem with the “right” is that it was poorly and incompetently established. Roe v. Wade was badly reasoned. Coons’ assertion that President Trump “summoned the mob, stirred up the mob and then lit the fuse that sent them storming the Capitol of the United States” is also undeniably false.
While Ethics Alarms holds that it was irresponsible and unethical for Trump to call protesters to D.C., protesting is nonetheless a legal and constitutionally protected right. What he did cannot be called “summoning a mob,” unless all protests are to be called mob action. Giving a stirring speech to a crowd is not unusual or sinister conduct for a President either. The fact that some in the crowd went on to storm the Capitol isn’t evidence that Trump “lit the fuse,” meaning that he caused it. That’s the classic fallacy “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” or “after this, thus because of this.” Coons is a lawyer, so he knows that’s garbage reasoning, yet he espoused it anyway.
So Coons wins the Unethical Jan. 6 Show Trial-Related Unethical Quote of the Month, no mean feat. To be fair, others in the Democratic Party propaganda machine also tried to defend Schumer’s March threats in the wake of the attempt of a Roe fan to make Kavanaugh reap the whirlwind by killing him. The usually risible Jonathan Chait, in his latest column at New York Magazine, argues that Chuck Schumer said nothing wrong, but ‘Republicans pounced.’ The claim is that Schumer’s context wasn’t violent. Assuming arguendo that Chait is right, so what? People read quotes and hear sound bites. When Schumer threatened the justices by name, I didn’t see the whole context, and neither did millions of other people. The words were per se inflammatory and dangerous; no leader of either party had ever made such a threat against a Supreme Court justice by name. I condemned the statement at the time, and do now.
Nor does it mitigate anything that Schumer said that he eventually admitted that his rhetoric was excessive after a rebuke from Chief Justice Roberts and others. “I should not have used the words I used yesterday. They did not come out the way I intended to,” Schumer said, adding: “I’m from Brooklyn. We use strong language.”
Oh. That’s all right then! And if some maniac hears your threats but misses the far less publicized regrets, and then tries to do your bidding, you’re off the hook. Got it!
After all, you were upset.