No one knows where these talking points come from, but it’s quite clear where they’re going. The political and media elites have wholeheartedly embraced the strategy of likening the January 6 Capitol rioters (and by extension, all of Donald Trump supporters) to al-Qaeda and President Trump himself to Osama bin Laden.
It’s as ridiculous as it is offensive, but the agenda is clear: marginalize, silence, and ultimately criminalize all dissent from the far-Left agenda, under the guise of “protecting our democracy.”
One of the leading propagators of this myth has been, not surprisingly, disgraced former FBI Director James Comey, who said this on “The View” Friday about the Capitol rioters: “They are terrorists. They are people bent on coercing a civilian government—attacking our democracy—because of their warped view of reality.”
It was, he said, all Trump’s fault: “This is how al-Qaida radicalized: a constant, constant torrent of lies at vulnerable people. Well, we have millions of vulnerable people in this country who’ve consumed these lies, and some portion of them have been radicalized to the point where they believe they’re on the side of the angels and have to engage in violence directed against us. So it’s a serious threat, it’s a terrorist threat, and Donald Trump and his enablers—we want to make sure we keep the receipts, ’cause a lot of people are going to deny they had any connection to it come a few months from now—but that group of people has radicalized a group of terrorists.”
Comey did not originate this comparison. Back on January 12, former Homeland Security Department official Juliette Kayyem (who almost certainly didn’t originate it, either) wrote:
Keeping Trump in office until January 20 won’t assuage the supporters who falsely believe that the election was stolen from him, but removing him from office a week early would emphasize that he is losing. Recruitment is easier for a winning team. As the Islamic State and al-Qaeda both discovered after their apexes, getting people to take up arms is harder when the cause is in decline.
That same day, Kayyem tweeted: “Trump is the spiritual leader for domestic terrorists and he is their operational leader. He tells them what to do. Now, total isolation. 25th A. Yes. Impeachment. Yes. Deplatforming. Yes. We are still in the tactical phase of a counterterrorism effort. Enough with unity.”
Chiming in from the Hollywood Soviet Socialist Republic, actor Sean Penn tweeted the following day:
The Republicans arguing against impeachment are looking to absolve Bin Laden because it might ‘inflame’ Al Queda [sic] (The Base). That’s a chump’s way out. Truth and Justice will be the first seed of unity. Impeach.
Well, Osama Bin Laden did not enter U.S. soil on September 11, but it was widely acknowledged that he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country and the president, with his words, using the word ‘fight’ with the speakers he assembled that day, who called for ‘trial by combat’ and said we have to ‘take names and kick ass.’ . . . That is hate speech that inspired and radicalized people to storm the Capitol.
While quibbling with the likening of Trump to Osama bin Laden, Graeme Wood wrote Tuesday in The Atlantic: “I consider Trump the biggest threat to American democracy since Robert E. Lee—a terrorist who had at his disposal a great army and used it to great effect.”
Retired Army General Stanley McChrystal also compared the Capitol rioters to al-Qaeda, saying that both had a “powerful leader” who “justified their violence.” He explained:
I did see a similar dynamic in the evolution of al-Qaida in Iraq, where a whole generation of angry Arab youth with very poor prospects followed a powerful leader who promised to take them back in time to a better place, and he led them to embrace an ideology that justified their violence. This is now happening in America.
McChrystal suggested that even claiming that the 2020 election was stolen was tantamount to radicalizing terrorists: “President Trump has updated Lost Cause with his ‘Stop the Steal’ narrative that they lost because of a stolen election, and that is the only thing holding these people down and stopping them from assuming their rightful place in society. That gives them legitimacy to become even more radical.” He asserted that the United States is “much further along in this radicalization process, and facing a much deeper problem as a country, than most Americans realize,” and that this radicalization will “not simply disappear when Trump does.”
This is an out-and-out lie, as Trump didn’t justify any violence. Those who hear McChrystal should also consider the source, as the retired CENTCOM chief is a part of the military establishment that is enraged at Trump for trying to stop America’s endless, pointless, self-defeating adventurism.
But as appallingly divisive and fiction-based as it is, clearly the Trump-equals-Osama line is the narrative that the leftist establishment has adopted, likely as a prelude to large-scale attempts to silence and criminalize support for Trump and eventually, all dissent. The powers-that-be have sent out their talking points, and now the Propaganda Ministry is pulling out all the stops to propagate them among Americans.