Commentary

Remember when the right wing was all about supporting cops & maybe even a little police brutality?

Washington D.C. 6 January 2021: Right wing insurrectionists storm the Capitol building at Donald Trump's urging.
Washington D.C., January 6, 2021: Right wing insurrectionists storm the Capitol building at Donald Trump's urging.Photo: Shutterstock

Remember when the right-wing was all about supporting cops and maybe even a little police brutality? Many conservatives used to complain that police should be able to do whatever it takes to keep law and order. Donald Trump was the embodiment of that mentality, calling on police to shoot looters and saying that police misconduct was like a golfer choking and missing a three-foot putt.

Of course, that was before Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6, assaulting officers with weapons and bear spray, gouging an officer’s eyes and crushing another in a door.

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The testimony of four officers yesterday before a House committee investigating the insurrection was riveting and disturbing. They recounted how they endured racist slurs, suffered physical assaults worse than they experienced in war zones, and feared for their lives. 

The response from the so-called backers of the blue: the officers are a bunch of wimps.

Fox News Laura Ingraham, who just last month was complaining about “the far left’s anti-police vendettas,” used her program to mock the officers who testified. She handed out “best performance awards,” belittling the dangers the officers endured.

“The theatrics were intended to produce an emotional reaction, logic and facts be damned,” Ingraham declared.

Not to be outdone, fellow Fox News host Tucker Carlson actually laughed out loud at Officer Michael Fantone’s testimony. Fantone said that he had “been left with psychological trauma and emotional anxiety” from the attack, during which he was beaten and suffered a heart attack.

To bolster his cruelty, Carlson showed images from the insurrection that made it seem peaceful. He failed to show the violence that marked the attack that day.

Behind all of these assaults–verbal and physical–on the Capitol Police stands Donald Trump. Trump insists that the rioters were really patriots upset over a stolen election and pins any violence on fictional Antifa agitators.

The right’s fealty to Trump is so strong that no one is safe from it. Trump put Mike Pence in grave physical danger on January 6, despite Pence’s obsequious loyalty to Trump. Why should he care about the police he claims to love so much? They were standing in the way of the riot Trump incited.

The fact is that the GOP’s tough-on-crime rhetoric now only applies to anyone who is not a Trump follower. If a Trump follower breaks the law for the right reason–which is to do something Trump wants–the GOP is fine with it.

Indeed, the party leadership will go out of its way to pretend that it’s the other side that’s at fault. The law–and law and order–only exists to be used against their political enemies. If that happens to be the police, they don’t care.

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