One of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked January 6 Committee members has a history of excusing rioters when their motivations are politically acceptable. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said in May 1992 after the Los Angeles riots that year that he hoped then-President George H.W. Bush would not encourage “backlash” against the rioters who burned parts of the city.
The 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out after the acquittal of a group of LAPD officers who were accused of wrongfully beating African-American motorist Rodney King during a traffic stop.
At the time, Raskin seemed to excuse the rioters by claiming they “sensed that justice was not done” as a result of the trial and jury verdict that occurred. He went on to demand that the U.S. Department of Justice get involved in the case after the state court trial, adding that he believed ‘there was a clear miscarriage of justice.”
Other members of Pelosi’s committee have taken a soft approach to mob violence. Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) responded to a request from the Hinds County (Mississippi) Bar Association in 1992 asking him to oppose the riots as “unacceptable responses to displeasure with a judicial decision.”
Thomson responded by saying that he was “offended” by being asked in a letter to “see that nothing happens” as a result of the Beckwith trial. At the time, Byron De La Beckwith was on trial for the murder of NAACP leader Medgar Evers. Thompson evaded the question about the then-ongoing Los Angeles riots by asking why the local bar association was not actively speaking out about previous racial injustices in Mississippi.
Kevin Williamson wrote an opinion article last week for National Review pointing out that Democrats have already “blown it” with their chance to do much with the January 6 Committee other than some questionably effective campaigning for this year’s midterm elections.
He said that the obvious problem faced by Democrats is that they have already “legitimized” the events of January 6 by spending the entire summer of 2020 excusing the “mostly peaceful” riots, arson, and murders following the killing of George Floyd.
Williamson noted that the Democrats will find it “very difficult to argue that political violence is unacceptable” after spending so many years actively accepting it.