In the lead-up to Wednesday’s impeachment vote against President Donald Trump in the House, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), who has been appointed as one of the impeachment managers, compared the President to Osama bin Laden.
“Well, Osama Bin Laden did not enter U.S. soil on September 11, but it was widely acknowledged that he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country and the president, with his words, using the word ‘fight’ with the speakers he assembled that day, who called for ‘trial by combat’ and said we have to ‘take names and kick ass,’” Swalwell said in an interview with PBS NewsHour when asked about claims Trump incited last week’s deadly Capitol riot.
“That is hate speech that inspired and radicalized people to storm the Capitol,” he added.
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Here, the California Democrat is referring to comments made by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) respectively at the “Stop The Steal” rally in front of the White House, which Trump also spoke at, before rioters violently stormed the U.S. Capitol.
Trump and the others have defended their remarks at the rally as peaceful.
Swalwell continued, saying: “And when you read the indictments from the U.S. Attorney’s office of people who’ve been arrested, in their FBI interviews they cite that they were called there by the president. They were in the Capitol because the president told them to do so.”
The anchor then asked Swalwell to clarify if he was comparing the President to bin Laden, to which he did not offer a direct response.
“I’m comparing the words of a individual who would incite and radicalize somebody as Osama Bin Laden did to what President Trump did. You don’t actually have to commit the violence yourself but if you call others to violence that itself is a crime,” he said.
The single article of impeachment being voted on sometime Wednesday accuses the president of “incitement of insurrection”—falling under “high crimes and misdemeanors”—for the deadly pro-Trump riot that consumed the grounds and halls of the U.S. Capitol one week ago, on the day Congress was set to certify the states’ Electoral College votes and President-elect Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.
At least 215 House Democrats are joined by a growing list of their Republicans counterparts, notably including the No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Liz Cheney (Wyo.). Trump would be the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.