Sen. Rand Paul said if Democrats seek to impeach former President Donald Trump for his rhetoric before the Capitol riot, then they should consider impeaching colleagues such as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “for inciting violence” in the past.
“I think if we are going to criminalize speech and somehow impeach everybody who says, oh, go fight to hear your voices heard, really we ought to impeach Chuck Schumer then,” the Kentucky Republican told Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. “He went to the Supreme Court, stood in front of the Supreme Court and said specifically, hey [Justice Neil] Gorsuch, hey [Justice Brett] Kavanaugh, you’ve unleashed a whirlwind, and you’re going to pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you continue with these awful decisions.”
“This inflammatory wording, this violent rhetoric of Chuck Schumer was so bad that the chief justice, who rarely says anything publicly, immediately said this kind of language is dangerous as a mob tried to invade the Supreme Court,” he continued. “So if people want to hold President Trump accountable for language, there has to be a consistent standard, and to my mind, it’s a partisan farce because they’re not doing anything to Chuck Schumer, not doing anything to Rep. Omar, not doing anything to Maxine Waters. It’s just not fair. It’s just partisan politics under a different name.”
In early March 2020, Schumer identified Kavanaugh and Gorsuch by name in front of a crowd of supporters and cautioned them that they had “released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” The New York Democrat, who later walked back his comments, drew bipartisan condemnation and a rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, which is seldom seen from the court.
“Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous,” Roberts said at the time. “All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter.”
Trump faces an impeachment charge of incitement of insurrection for his statements and actions surrounding the siege of Congress as lawmakers counted electoral votes and worked to affirm President Biden’s victory. “We fight, we fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump told a crowd at a nearby “Stop the Steal” rally before the siege. The Senate impeachment trial is expected to start on Tuesday, and Trump’s lawyers are arguing that it is an unconstitutional proceeding since their client is no longer in office.
Paul condemned violent rhetoric but added that other Democrats should face inquiries over their past conduct.
“I don’t condone any of the language and, like I say, I opposed philosophically and voted against overturning the election,” he told Wallace. “However, I think you’re going to see the Trump defense play video of Maxine Waters telling crowds to mob Trump administration and restaurants and attack them. They’ll probably show clips of Cory Booker saying, get up in their face of these Congresspeople.”
“I think you’re going to see all of this and people are going to have to judge for themselves, are we going to impeach and potentially criminally prosecute people for political speech when they get — say, get up and fight for your country, let your voices be heard,” he continued.
California Rep. Maxine Waters in June 2018 told a crowd of supporters to swarm Trump administration officials in public.
“Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up. And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out, and you create a crowd,” she said. “And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents.”
New Jersey Dwemocrat Sen. Cory Booker in 2018 told supporters to “get up in the face” of members of Congress.