“Peaceful demonstrations” do “not include looting, starting fires, or rioting,” Pelosi said just a few weeks after shrugging when asked her thoughts on rioters tearing down statues.
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For months, Democrats have contorted themselves into pretzels to keep from condemning the rioting and looting that became prevalent in Democrat-run cities like Portland and Seattle in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd.
The words “peaceful protesters” became their default characterization for *all* demonstrators, including the violent rioters who took over city streets, tore down statues, looted and burned buildings, and injured and in some cases murdered counter-protesters and law enforcement officers. Any time Republicans including President Trump condemned the “protesters” for their heinous actions and demanded law and order, the same Democrats would accuse them of “disrespecting and trampling” on their First Amendment rights.
But over the last few weeks Democrats seem to have changed their tune, at least on the surface. Their presidential nominee Joe Biden spoke out against protest violence a few weeks ago. A few Democratic members of the House and Senate have also gone on record in recent weeks condemning the violence.
The latest Democrat entrant into the “rioting and looting is bad” camp is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who on Thursday took to the floor of the U.S. House to counter an unnamed Republican who point-blank asked Democrats where they’d been on the BLM/Antifa violence happening in major American cities.
After Pelosi virtue signaled for a short time about how she supported freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest, she got around to the tepid condemnations:
“We support peaceful demonstrations, we participate in them, they are part of the essence of our democracy,” Pelosi said. “That does not include looting, starting fires, or rioting. They should be prosecuted. That is lawlessness. I’m very proud that Joe Biden has presented the clarity that, making a distinction that I don’t think our colleagues quite understand but the American people do and a poll released today said that the American people support congressional Democrats over President Trump in terms of dealing with the issue of crime in our country for all of their misrepresentations.”
This speech stands in stark contrast to remarks Pelosi made in July when asked to clarify whether she preferred statues to be taken down by mobs or if it should be decided legally by a committee or other formal process. Her answer at the time was simply, “People will do what they do.”
— Drew Holden (@DrewHolden360) September 17, 2020
Anyone thinking Pelosi has had an epiphany on anarchistic protests hasn’t been paying attention to polling about riots because that’s almost certainly the primary reason for this newfound “concern.”
Though Speaker Pelosi did mention a favorable poll in her rant, she left out how polls don’t look good for Democrats when those surveyed are asked about riots. For example, a Rasmussen poll from Tuesday showed that voters who rated the violent protests in their cities as important to their vote favored Trump over Biden.
Pelosi’s condemnation of rioting and looting also comes just days after a YouTuber live-streamed himself pooping in her driveway, calling it a “peaceful protest.” There’s no word yet on whether or not this got in the way of the delivery of the premium ice cream treats she enjoys, but I suspect it, too, factored in to the comments she made on the House floor.
In any event, Pelosi’s flip flop on politically-motivated rioting would be more admirable if she’d done it after having a genuine change of heart, But that’s not what happened here. She’s doing it for self-serving reasons: Polling and the nasty inconvenience of having a “peaceful protester” defecate in front of her house.
There will be people who will be fooled by her supposed change of heart, but those of us in the cheap seats who have watched her shower “peaceful protesters” with high praise for months now as innocent people’s lives have been destroyed won’t be among them.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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