The Left Benefits From Blowing January 6 Far Out of Proportion | Opinion

The following is a lightly edited transcript of remarks made by Ben Weingarten during a Newsweek podcast debate on January 6. You can listen to the podcast here:

As a factual matter, the effort to breach the Capitol and its grounds started before the president was even done speaking, in a separate crowd from the one of tens of thousands, by some estimates, of obviously peaceful Americans who came to listen to a series of speeches that day. Of course, the president famously said, "peacefully and patriotically." I don't really want to go down litigating the road of incitement to violence and the like, because I think it's beyond the scope. And I do think that it does not hold legal merit, but obviously the political case can be prosecuted. And I think the political case obviously is going to be prosecuted. And I think the whole purpose of the January 6th Select Committee is to make the political case—I would argue political persecution, and a chilling one in that, in the vein of the raft of subpoenas that have been put forth that are going to chill anyone who would dare want to serve any administration that runs afoul of the political establishment.

Crowds gather for the "Stop the Steal"
Crowds gather for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

I think going forward, leave aside my view of the illegitimacy in many respects of the Select Committee, I shudder to think that the republic hung by a thread with a crowd of people—who of those who had weapons had improvised weapons, like knives, flag poles, fire extinguishers—that they could somehow take hold of the seat of power and put down or take hold of the powers of the most awesome security state in history. I think that just defies reality. It's unfathomable. Most of these people had no criminal record in their past. So the comparisons like the reference to Guantanamo Bay, the notion that this is "American al-Qaeda," I think it's straining. That qualifies in my view as demagoguery.

Ben Weingarten is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, fellow at the Claremont Institute and senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party (Bombardier, 2020). Ben is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media LLC, a media consulting and production company. Subscribe to his newsletter at bit.ly/bhwnews, and follow him on Twitter: @bhweingarten.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.