Former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Saturday called for the creation of a truth and reconciliation commission to “erase Trump’s lies” and expose those who “enabled” them.
“When this nightmare is over, we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Reich tweeted. “It would erase Trump’s lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.”
After he took flak from those accusing him of promoting totalitarianism, Reich appended a link to an article from The Conversation explaining the history of truth and reconciliation commissions and how they are supposedly intended to rectify historical injustices and heal the wounds of division.
I love the people responding to this tweet as if it's a radical, undemocratic idea. https://t.co/39Bef6JMIy
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) October 18, 2020
The article said in part, “The goal of a truth commission — in some forms also called a truth and reconciliation commission, as it is in Canada — is to hold public hearings to establish the scale and impact of a past injustice, typically involving wide-scale human rights abuses, and make it part of the permanent, unassailable public record. Truth commissions also officially recognize victims and perpetrators in an effort to move beyond the painful past.”
Going on to list examples in more than 40 countries where truth and reconciliation commissions were used, the article said, “The hope has been that restorative justice would provide greater healing than the retributive justice modelled most memorably by the Nuremberg Trials after the Second World War.” It concluded by claiming the United States needs a truth and reconciliation commission because of its “centuries of enslavement, state-sponsored racism, denial of civil rights and ongoing economic and social disparity.”
Reich’s idea echoed that of MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who earlier this month also called for a truth and reconciliation commission to “deal with” those who question COVID-19 protocols.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes raised eyebrows when he floated the idea of a “truth and reconciliation commission” as “the most humane and reasonable way to deal” with those who seemingly question the received wisdom regarding how best to protect against COVID-19.
Hayes’ comment came in response to a tweet from American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp, who was himself responding to a tweet from NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss, who said, “Why is a sick President riding in an SUV waving to supporters outside Walter Reed, jeopardizing the Secret Service agents inside the car with him?”
Beschloss was referring to President Donald Trump’s brief drive on Sunday past supporters who had assembled outside Walter Reed Medical Center during his convalescence there. Some criticized the move as “reckless,” and The Washington Post reported that “current and former Secret Service agents and medical professionals were aghast” the president would lock himself inside a hermetically sealed car with others while having the coronavirus. Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) even demanded that the Secret Service brief Congress on the incident.
Referencing the fact that Trump was masked and his Secret Service agents decked out in necessary PPE, Schlapp tweeted in response, “So masks don’t work? I’m confused.”
Quote-tweeting Schlapp, Hayes wrote, “The most humane and reasonable way to deal with all these people, if we survive this, is some kind of truth and reconciliation commission.”