Here's how Republicans are trying to 'bury their own culpability' for Trump's destruction: columnist
When President Joe Biden gave his inaugural address on Wednesday, some far-right pundits and politicians were quick to find fault with it — and one of the things they have been attacking is Biden's call for "unity." Liberal opinion writer Greg Sargent addresses those criticisms in his Washington Post column, slamming them as petty and devoid of substance.
"President Biden declared, in his inaugural address, that our prospects for much-needed 'unity' are threatened by various political forces," Sargent explains. "Among them, he said, are racism, nativism, political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism. Republicans promptly decided that in condemning those things, Biden was actually talking about them."
Sargent adds, however, that there is a "deeper ploy" at work in the GOP attacks on Biden's speech.
"With this new fake outrage fest, Republicans are working to reframe the national debate over how to repair the damage done during Donald Trump's presidency on terms favorable to them," Sargent writes. "This reframing is designed to bury their own culpability for the injuries they inflicted by actively enabling Trump and by deliberately harnessing the destructive forces he unleashed toward their own instrumental ends."
The columnist goes on to note some of the things that Republicans have had to say. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky complained, "If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly veiled innuendo calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book, calling us people who don't tell the truth." And Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania tweeted:
President Biden’s call for “unity” isn’t about bringing a divided country together. It’s about coercing “unity” of… https://t.co/pUDhBKm3jG— Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (@Rep. Guy Reschenthaler) 1611165315.0
Jennifer Carnahan, chair of the Minnesota Republican Party, tweeted:
The next four years will be about shaming, blaming and cancelling until diversity of thought is completely extingui… https://t.co/GHBHcGmYxM— Jennifer Carnahan (@Jennifer Carnahan) 1611166342.0
Sargent explains, "Let's talk about the real reason for all this anger. It's because Biden placed the primary blame for our recent breakdown precisely where it belongs: on right-wing extremism…. Biden is absolutely correct in saying that the primary threat to unity in this country — to civic peace, to democratic coexistence, to mutual acknowledgment of the legitimacy of the opposition — is the bundle of right-wing movements he described."
Republicans who promoted Trump's bogus and debunked claims of widespread voter fraud, Sargent emphasizes, "bear culpability for feeding the authoritarian and democracy-despising impulses that drove the" Jan. 6 "assault" on the U.S. Capitol Building.
"Large swaths of the GOP spent months feeding the lie that the election's outcome was illegitimate," Sargent recalls. "They stood by while Trump whipped up his supporters into believing that delusion and tried to corruptly strong-arm officials into helping him steal the election. After the assault, more than 100 congressional Republicans voted to overturn the results."
Sargent applauds GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah for describing Biden's speech as "very much needed," but he adds that Republicans who have gone out of their way to be divisive are in no position to complaint about divisiveness.
"We are not required to play this game," Sargent argues. "Biden may or may not succeed in securing 'unity,' but Republicans don't get to unilaterally dictate in advance what counts as a true attempt to achieve it."
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