We’re seeing more than a little consternation on social media the last couple of days – particularly on RVIVR.com’s feeds in the aftermath of a post there about Sen. John Kennedy’s committee-hearing treatment of Fed chairman Jerome Powell, and we initially thought it was just a few crazies.
But then we saw that they weren’t crazy, because here was Kennedy’s quote about the video Tucker Carlson has been airing from the January 6, 2021 protest this week…
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) also responded, “I was here. It was not peaceful. It was an abomination. You’re entitled to believe what you want in America, but you can’t resort to violence to try to convince others of your point of view.”
Here’s the problem with that quote.
Which is that nobody is saying there weren’t bad actors in that crowd on January 6, 2021 at the Capitol in Washington. What Carlson’s video is showing is that the narratives established around that protest/riot/mostly peaceful demonstration/whatever you want to call it don’t really hold up when the evidence comes out.
And in the case, for example, of Jacob Chansley, who you probably know by the name “QAnon Shaman” that he was tagged with because of the dumb Viking costume he wore to the protest, the lies have led to the destruction of a man’s life. In the interest of keeping this post brief, we’ll just focus on his case.
Chansley is a Navy veteran. He was made the poster boy for the Capitol riots because he looked colorful and villainous enough for the role. And he’s now serving a 41-month sentence in federal prison for his role in the riots.
But all of the video which has now popped out from Chansley’s time in the Capitol – and it turns out pretty much every second he was in the building is on the surveillance video, and in none of those seconds does he hurt anybody.
Jacob Chansley WAS peaceful. Yes, that costume of his was an abomination, but bad fashion isn’t quite a crime – if it was, Rosa DeLauro and Kyrsten Sinema might well be occupying the cells next to Chansley’s.
And he most certainly did NOT resort to violence.
Last night on Carlson’s show he countered the Republicans, like Kennedy, who were trashing him for showing the Jan. 6 tapes nobody in America has been allowed to see until now, and he asked a question that John Kennedy needs to answer – which is that now that we’ve seen all of the video of Chansley in the building, being escorted around by the Capitol Police and aided, not impeded, in his tour of the structure, including his leading a prayer for the policemen for how peaceful and friendly they’ve been, what about that film of him is abominable or violent?
And there’s another question Carlson posed, which is why wasn’t this video provided to Jacob Chansley’s attorney? Because it’s exculpatory. The fact that he’s escorted by the cops all over the building, never arrested or even kicked out, makes you question whether he’s even guilty of trespassing, much less branded as a domestic terrorist and buried under a jail for 41 months.
We would suggest that Kennedy revise and extend his remarks, because there’s probably a sweet spot here that even Carlson would agree with. Carlson has said that the Jan. 6 demonstrators who rioted, who broke windows and fought with cops, certainly should face justice for it – but to style simply walking through the Capitol and taking selfies and saying prayers into a bullhorn doesn’t qualify as any of that.
And in that sweet spot we recognize that a horrible miscarriage of justice has befallen Jacob Chansley, who might well be eccentric and perhaps is even wrong about much of his politics but has not engaged in the kind of behavior which deserves the punishment he’s been subjected to – and worse, was not given a fair trial due to horrific prosecutorial abuse in not providing the video Carlson now holds and has broadcast on his show.
Surely Kennedy can agree to that while maintaining that what happened on Jan. 6 was not a particularly proud moment.