Reiner, Klobuchar and the Big Lie of January 6
“Is it okay to have a conspiracy to get rid of Trump?” host Bill Maher asked guests Rob Reiner and Sen. Amy Klobuchar on his HBO show on Friday. This exchange got considerable online attention. Most of that attention focused on Reiner’s shockingly ignorant disavowal of the Hunter Biden laptop story.
Overlooked were the knee-jerk comments by both Reiner and Klobuchar on the subject of January 6. Rather than answer Maher’s question about the suppression of the laptop story, Reiner reflexively retreated to the safe space of January 6. “You know what is not justified,” said Reiner. “Using armed violence to try to kill people in the Capitol.”
A privileged child of Hollywood, Reiner broke through as Archie Bunker’s son-in-law, the aptly named “Meathead,” on the 1970’s TV comedy “All in the Family.” He has since gone on to a successful career as a director. His ignorance—and latent fascism—surprised no one who has been exposed to the proud inanity of Tinsel Town over the years.
Klobuchar has no such excuse. Although more politic than Reiner on the subject of free speech, Klobuchar seemed even more dangerously misinformed than Reiner on January 6. “We are dealing with a man who used to be the president right now who literally tried to lead an armed insurrection,” said Klobuchar, employing four distinct falsehoods to make her off-topic point.
There was no insurrection. Those who entered the Capitol did not have guns. Yes, Trump could be accused of leading a protest, but not a riot, let alone an insurrection. And were Trump to have led this insurrection “literally,” he would have been waving a flag in the front lines and encouraging the armed patriots behind him to storm the Capitol.
Dismayed by the failure of the courts to charge any of the protestors with “insurrection” the media have grasped at every proverbial straw within reach. When eleven members of the Oath Keepers were charged with “seditious conspiracy” a year after the riot, the zealots trumpeted their vindication across the fruited plain. Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley, no Trump fan, quickly rained on their noisy parade.
“The charging of a relatively small number of extremists in this large protest belies rather than supports the broader allegations of an actual insurrection,” wrote Turley. “This remains a protest that became a riot.” More than six months after the incident, an informed FBI source was telling Reuters, "Ninety to ninety-five percent of these are one-off cases. Then you have five percent, maybe, of these militia groups that were more closely organized. But there was no grand scheme with Roger Stone and Alex Jones and all of these people to storm the Capitol and take hostages."
To any fair minded observer, the incident at Capitol Hill was much closer to the on-air graphic—“fiery but largely peaceful protest”—that CNN used to euphemize scenes of a burning Kenosha. The difference between the Kenosha and Capitol Hill riots is that the rioters in Washington set no fires and destroyed about $50 million less property. Then, too, Kenosha was just one of scores of BLM-Antifa riots that summer that left as many as 30 people dead and caused some $2 billion in damage.
The media have used the phrase “armed” as recklessly as they have used the term “insurrection.” Knowing the kind of people who showed up at the protest, I would suspect that the majority, perhaps the great majority, own guns. Many, I am sure, live in states with constitutional carry or concealed carry laws and are used to going about their business armed. That said, almost all of the protestors honored D.C.’s restrictive gun laws.
In June 2022, Newsweek ran a fact check on whether the alleged insurrectionists were armed. Here is what they found:
Lonnie Coffman, 72, was sentenced to four years in prison for having loaded guns, ammunition and Molotov cocktail ingredients in his truck parked a half-mile from the Capitol. He also carried a loaded handgun as he “walked around the area.”
Guy Reffitt, 49. was convicted for being “unlawfully present on Capitol grounds” in possession of a firearm.
Christopher Alberts was indicted for carrying a handgun “on Capitol grounds.”
Off-duty DEA agent Mark Sami Ibrahim, 32, was indicted by a grand jury for bringing a firearm “on the grounds” of the Capitol.
Newsweek cites an earlier op-ed in its own publication by two individuals affiliated with an organization called “Everytown for Gun Safety.” The two claim that there were at least twelve individuals “tied to the events of January 6 “who were arrested in Washington, D.C., and charged with firearms offenses.” True to form, they do not name these individuals and cite only a few examples.
The Newsweek columnists insist January 6 was an “armed insurrection,” but they identify not a single person who brought a weapon into the Capitol Building that day, let alone fired it. On January 6, only one bullet was fired either in the building or on the grounds, and that bullet came from the gun of Capitol Police Sgt. Michael Byrd. Byrd shot and killed an unarmed female protestor whose death had less objective justification than even George Floyd’s. Say her name, Ashli Babbitt.
It should be noted too that the events of January 6 followed the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story. Had the FBI gone public with the laptop when the Bureau first seized it, Biden would not have been his party’s nominee. Had the media and Big Tech—at the FBI’s urging—not buried the evidence contained in that laptop weeks before the election, America would likely have been spared a Biden presidency.
Violent protests by the left would have inevitably followed Trump’s 2020 election. The Meathead crowd seems to have forgotten January 2017. The subhead of an NBC story is refreshingly specific: “217 people were arrested and six police officers suffered minor injuries after some protesters set fires and smashed windows in the nation's capital.” Having seen that previous summer how the left behaves when triggered, the authorities would have been well prepared for any assault on the Capitol following a second Trump victory.
By contrast, Trump supporters had no history of violence or rioting. January 6 was different only around the edges. Other than Byrd, no one tried “to kill people in the Capitol.” The media have insisted that bear spray and captured police shields are weapons too, but “armed” in America means guns, and Reiner and Klobuchar know it. Only in the left’s fevered imagination does anyone launch an insurrection with flagpoles and Trump signs.
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