On Tuesday, Rep. Eric Swalwell, infamous for making outrageous statements (remember when he responded to a gun owner who said there would be a war if the government attempted to confiscate guns by tweeting, “And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes”) attacked former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell by likening him to the infamous Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, Joseph Goebbels.
The vicious name-calling from Grenell was prompted by Grenell chiding various journalists for their reporting on the protests at Lafayette Park, which many journalists reported were peaceful. United States Park Police acting Chief Gregory T. Monahan delivered the facts in a statement, noting that some actions at the protest were not peaceful and the much-claimed charge that the Park Police had used tear gas was incorrect. He wrote:
The United States Park Police (USPP) is committed to the peaceful expression of First Amendment rights. However, this past weekend’s demonstrations at Lafayette Park and across the National Mall included activities that were not part of a peaceful protest, which resulted in injuries to USPP officers in the line of duty, the destruction of public property and the defacing of memorials and monuments. During four days of demonstrations, 51 members of the USPP were injured; of those, 11 were transported to the hospital and released and three were admitted.
Multiple agencies assisted the USPP in responding to and quelling the acts of destruction and violence over the course of the weekend in order to protect citizens and property.
On Monday, June 1, the USPP worked with the United States Secret Service to have temporary fencing installed inside Lafayette Park. At approximately 6:33 pm, violent protestors on H Street NW began throwing projectiles including bricks, frozen water bottles and caustic liquids. The protestors also climbed onto a historic building at the north end of Lafayette Park that was destroyed by arson days prior. Intelligence had revealed calls for violence against the police, and officers found caches of glass bottles, baseball bats and metal poles hidden along the street.
To curtail the violence that was underway, the USPP, following established policy, issued three warnings over a loudspeaker to alert demonstrators on H Street to evacuate the area. Horse mounted patrol, Civil Disturbance Units and additional personnel were used to clear the area. As many of the protestors became more combative, continued to throw projectiles, and attempted to grab officers’ weapons, officers then employed the use of smoke canisters and pepper balls. No tear gas was used by USPP officers or other assisting law enforcement partners to close the area at Lafayette Park. Subsequently, the fence was installed.
Grenell, taking note of Monahan’s statement, tweeted, “Facts matter & we should demand journalism. @CNN, @jaketapper, @RyanLizza, @abbydphillip & @JFKucinich should all correct their previous & erroneous reporting with this ParkPolice statement. They all watched something on TV & then claimed everyone was peaceful. They were wrong.”
Facts matter & we should demand journalism. @cnn, @jaketapper, @RyanLizza, @abbydphillip & @JFKucinich should all correct their previous & erroneous reporting with this Park Police statement. They all watched something on TV & then claimed everyone was peaceful. They were wrong. https://t.co/EplZs9Vymb
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) June 2, 2020
Without addressing the central issue of whether his reporting was indeed erroneous, Lizza took issue with Grenell saying he watched events on TV, writing, “I was at the protest, genius, not watching it on TV. Please correct your erroneous reporting.”
I was at the protest, genius, not watching it on TV. Please correct your erroneous reporting. https://t.co/8v8UcB5Mh7
— Ryan Lizza (@RyanLizza) June 2, 2020
That prompted Swalwell to accuse Grenell of being a spokesman for the Nazi regime of World War II, blathering, “Don’t waste your time, @RyanLizza. @Richardgrenell is Goebbels with a Twitter account.”
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) June 3, 2020
Deeply offended by the use of a Nazi analogy to refer to Grenell, former senator Norm Coleman, the national chairman of the Republican Jewish Coalition released the following statement on behalf of the organization:
Ric has been one of the most strident and effective defenders of the Jewish people and the State of Israel. While political rhetoric can get heated, there is no excuse for ugly comparisons to one of the worst monsters in human history. It demeans the important work that Ric has done — getting Germany to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, starving the terrorist regime in Iran of funds that would be used to finance terror against Israel and the Jewish people, and speaking out in defense of German Jews who were targets of antisemitic attacks.
Swalwell owes a genuine apology to Mr. Grenell, to his constituents whom he has embarrassed, and to the victims of Goebbels whose suffering he minimized by this comparison.
Swalwell refused to apologize for his scurrilous charge, tweeting, “In a few years, my children will be old enough to ask, ‘Dad, what did you do when Trump gassed peaceful protestors for a photo-op at a church?’ The only thing I’ll be sorry for is if I’m not able to say, ‘everything I could to help save our country.’”
In a few years, my children will be old enough to ask, “Dad, what did you do when Trump gassed peaceful protestors for a photo-op at a church?” The only thing I’ll be sorry for is if I’m not able to say, “everything I could to help save our country.” https://t.co/vpmMWeLgJL
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) June 3, 2020
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