Rep. Jim Clyburn was a key figure behind securing Joe Biden’s nomination, and will be instrumental in picking his running mate. However, his views of late are show denial of reality and falling back on #Resistance tropes.
Jim Clyburn’s name carries gravitas in both Washington and his home state of South Carolina. Clyburn’s endorsement is considered to have pushed Joe Biden ahead of Bernie Sanders in the state’s primary election, securing him the black vote. The veteran lawmaker and House Majority Whip is expected to vet Biden’s eventual choice of running mate, given Biden has promised to consider a black woman for the slot.
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However, the South Carolinian Democrat appears to have embraced some of the more unhinged talking points of his party’s progressive wing. He demonstrated this in a series of cable news interviews on Sunday.
Speaking to CNN’s Dana Bash, Clyburn revised his earlier comparison of President Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler, this time comparing him to Italian fascist Benito Mussolini.
“I feel very strongly that he is Mussolini,” Clyburn declared, before rebranding Russian President Vladimir Putin as “Hitler.”“I believe very strongly this guy never had an idea about being wanting peacefully [sic] transfer of power.”
“I don’t think he plans to leave the White House. He doesn’t plan to have fair and unfettered elections. I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue to hold onto office,” Democratic Rep. James Clyburn says about Pres. Trump. #CNNSOTUpic.twitter.com/tk7qHPpL3P
— CNN (@CNN) August 2, 2020
“I don’t think he plans to leave the White House,” Clyburn continued. “He doesn’t plan to have fair and unfettered elections. I believe that he plans to install himself in some kind of emergency way to continue to hold on to office.”
Earlier this week, Trump mused about postponing November’s election until people could “safely and securely vote” in person, in a tweet that saw him rebuked by both sides of the political aisle. However, newspapers and cable pundits have long entertained the notion that Trump could cling to power if he loses, a view based on little more than the idea that Trump fancies himself a dictator, to paraphrase them.
Clyburn continued his dictatorial comparisons on Fox News. There, he told host Pete Hegseth that the federal crackdown on rioters in Portland, Oregon, was akin to “state-sponsored terrorism.” However, he denied calling the federal agents Trump’s “Gestapo,” a statement he made on record last month.
Portland has seen more than two months of nightly riots since late May, during which ragtag crowds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators and Antifa rioters have repeatedly attempted to break into the city’s federal courthouse and set the building alight. Clyburn denied any knowledge of these attempted arson attacks, asking Hegseth “What federal building has been under threat? Who attempted to burn a federal building?”
This MUST be seen to be believed. Majority whip Clyburn denies knowing about bible burning & has no idea a federal building has been under attack @PeteHegseth ‘s eyeballs just about popped out of his head. Delusional Democrats need to be voted OUT of office. Shameless liars. pic.twitter.com/pyH1QYq7i6
— 𝕞𝕖𝕝𝕚𝕤𝕤𝕒 🙈🙉🙊 (@my3monkees) August 2, 2020
“Black Lives Matter will not ever…burn down any buildings,” he added, claiming that any violence was the work of undercover “pretenders.”
Clyburn’s outright denial echoes that of New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, who last week called the riots and violence in Portland “a myth that’s being spread only in Washington, DC.”
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The Portland riots are anything but a myth. Denying their existence may please some of Clyburn’s base, but it will do little to please the majority of voters concerned with rising crime in US cities. Likewise, comparing Trump to the fascist dictators of old might score points with the most ardent Trump-haters, but will only serve to portray the Democratic party as one unmoored from reality.
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