The Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump gets underway on Tuesday as Democrats move to impeach a private citizen from an office he no longer holds, and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is calling for a little fair play.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Paul said if Democrats intend to criminalize speech then Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., “ought to” be impeached for his “inflammatory” remarks directed at Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
“If we are going to criminalize speech and somehow impeach everybody who says, ‘Oh, go fight to hear your voices heard,’ really we ought to impeach Chuck Schumer then,” the senator said. “He went to the Supreme Court, stood in front of the Supreme Court and said specifically, hey Gorsuch, hey Kavanaugh, you’ve unleashed a whirlwind, and you’re going to pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you continue with these awful decisions.”
“This inflammatory wording, this violent rhetoric of Chuck Schumer was so bad that the chief justice, who rarely says anything publicly, immediately said this kind of language is dangerous as a mob tried to invade the Supreme Court,” Paul continued.
(Source: Fox News)
Chief Justice John Roberts rebuked Schumer at the time for “threatening” remarks.
“Justices know that criticism comes with the territory,” Roberts said in a statement. “But threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous.”
In calling for a “consistent standard,” Paul said Schumer isn’t the only Democrat who has spewed inciteful rhetoric.
“So if people want to hold President Trump accountable for language, there has to be a consistent standard, and to my mind, it’s a partisan farce because they’re not doing anything to Chuck Schumer, not doing anything to Rep. [Ilhan] Omar, not doing anything to [Rep.] Maxine Waters. It’s just not fair. It’s just partisan politics under a different name,” he said.
Fox News host Chris Wallace all but convicted Trump on air, running edited clips of his remarks at the “Stop the Steal” rally held prior to the storming of the U.S. Capitol, and displaying a tweet from back in December, juxtaposed with protesters storming the building.
“We fight, we fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump told the crowd.
Wallace then asked, “Is that not incitement for insurrection?”
“I don’t condone any of the language and, like I say, I opposed philosophically and voted against overturning the election,” Paul said. “However, I think you’re going to see the Trump defense play video of Maxine Waters telling crowds to mob Trump administration [officials] in restaurants and attack them. They’ll probably show clips of [Sen.] Cory Booker saying get up in their face of these Congresspeople.”
“You’ll probably see comments from Rep. Omar wishing and celebrating the violence that happened to me when I had six ribs broken and part of my lung removed,” Paul said.
The latter remark being in reference to a 2017 attack Paul suffered at the hands of his next door neighbor.
“I think you’re going to see all of this and people are going to have to judge for themselves. Are we going to impeach and potentially criminally prosecute people for political speech when they say, ‘Get up and fight for your country, let your voices be heard. Has nobody in the country heard of figurative speech?” he continued.
The GOP lawmaker said it’s a fair argument to say Trump’s words and actions were wrong and misguided, but he pushed for equal treatment.
“But if you’re going to criminalize his speech, you have to do it with the same standard,” he said. “You can’t just criminalize Republican speech and ignore all the Democrats who have incited violence.”
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