On Thursday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) proposed a non-binding resolution condemning the mob violence spreading across America. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) accused Lee of trying to “condemn largely peaceful protests around the nation as ‘mob violence.'” Instead, he suggested an amendment: “our elected officials especially the President of the United States should not incite violence or legitimize those who engage in hate-fueled acts.”
An exasperated Mike Lee took to the Senate floor to condemn this ridiculous obstruction.
“Democrats can’t say ‘mob violence is bad’ without simultaneously taking a jab at the president of the United States? … People are being shot. Businesses are being looted. Innocent Americans are being attacked and threatened. Lives are being ruined. Communities are burning, literally burning. So whose side are you on? This resolution was designed to be unifying,” Lee said.
Menendez objected, accusing Lee of violating Rule 19: “No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator.”
Lee did indeed accuse Democrats of defending the mobs.
“The resolution was designed to be unifying. It avoided controversial subjects. All it asked of us was basic dignity and respect. … You can’t really oppose this without being on the side of the mobs, of mob violence, of mob mentality, of cruelty and intolerance and terror,” he explained.
Menendez interrupted with a “parliamentary inquiry.”
“Is this lying not in direct violation of Rule 19?” he asked.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who was presiding over the Senate, replied, “The chair concludes that pointing out that mob violence is dangerous to our nation is not contrary to Rule 19 or any other rule of the Senate.”
“The question is that imputing to members who did not agree with the framework and language of this resolution that they are supporting mob violence. That must be in violation of Rule 19 if this is going to be a deliberative body,” Menendez shot back.
Yet if Lee violated Rule 19, Menendez also did. Lee’s resolution clearly made a distinction between mob violence and peaceful protests.
The resolution states that “the rising tide of vandalism, mob violence, and the mob mentality that feeds it—including its cruel and intolerant ‘cancel culture’—should be condemned by all Americans; peaceful demonstrations and mob violence are different in kind; physical assault and property destruction are not forms of political speech but violent crimes whose perpetrators should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law; and the innocent law enforcement officers, public officials, and private citizens who suffer the mob’s violence and endure its scorn while protecting our communities from them deserve the thanks and appreciation of every American.”
The resolution also notes that “people across the United States have organized legitimate, peaceful, constitutionally protected demonstrations against instances of police brutality and racial inequality, serious problems meriting investigation and reform” but that “some Americans, unsatisfied with peaceful and positive demonstrations, have instigated and indulged in mob violence and criminal property destruction, not in service of any just or coherent cause, but simply as an arrogant, bullying tantrum of self-righteous illiberalism and rage.”
Contrary to Menendez’s incendiary accusation, Lee’s resolution does not “condemn largely peaceful protests around the nation as ‘mob violence.'” Instead, the resolution clearly praises those protests while condemning the lawless riots and violence.
Democrats cannot shove the riots down the memory hole. The looting, vandalism, and arson across America destroyed black lives, black livelihoods, and black monuments. Cancel culture iconoclasts have vandalized and toppled statues of Confederate generals and Union generals, along with statues of Christopher Columbus, George Washington, and Mahatma Gandhi. Vandals even targeted the monument to the first black Union volunteers.
All Americans should be able to condemn these destructive riots, but it seems Democrats like Bob Menendez cannot bring themselves to support law and order, even in a non-binding Senate resolution. Indeed, this suggests that Democrats are on the side of the mobs. In fact, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) condemned Mount Rushmore as a celebration of “white supremacy.”
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.