On Wednesday, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panthers who has since left the group, compared President Donald Trump’s dispatching of federal law enforcement to Portland to a Ku Klux Klan lynching. His KKK rhetoric is only likely to inflame the angry antifa mob whose rioting and arson against federal buildings inspired Trump to send the officers in the first place.
“What Trump is doing … he is a student of the Ku Klux Klan … this is nothing but a book out of annals and out of the tragedies and the techniques of the Ku Klux Klan,” Rush, a congressman since 1993, said on “The Joe Madison Show” on Sirius XM radio.
He explicitly compared federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to a lynch mob.
“Anytime you send — I don’t care if they’re federal agents, I don’t care whatever they are — any time you send an armed militia, an armed group of basically white men — we have not seen any blacks in this contingency of federal agents — any time you send a group of armed bandits, outlaws, not in a uniform, no name, no insignias, no identification, and you just snatch up innocent people … and you take them off to some unrecognized unknown place, you are really terrorizing our nation, you are terrorizing our community,” Rush added.
“And for Trump to talk about sending federal agents to Chicago, we won’t stand for it,” the congressman said.
“Trump wants to instigate a race war,” the Democrat declared. “He wants to have black folks fighting white folks so he can rise up and say, ‘I’m the real Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and I’m the president. Reelect me.’ That’s what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to play to the fears, to the racial animus that exists among certain white people, and he will do everything and anything to do that because he wants to be reelected at all costs.”
UNHINGED: Dem Rep. Bobby Rush compares federal agents to the KKK, accuses the Trump admin of trying "to instigate a race war"
Rush was co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party & via LA Times he was a "black-power advocate spouting: 'Off the pigs.'"pic.twitter.com/QZZq9Lsbhm
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) July 22, 2020
As Townhall reported, Rush compared federal agents to the KKK after Joe Madison asked him about the prospect of Trump sending federal law enforcement to help restore law and order after horrific antifa attacks like the siege at the Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park, Chicago. Rioters shot fireworks at police and ran at them with PVC pipes sharpened into pikes. The violent confrontation left 49 police officers injured.
Despite all this, Rush insisted, “We don’t need federal agents, we need federal aid. Send some money to create jobs. That will do more to curtail outrage and violence in Chicago than any federal troops or federal agents could possibly do. Send aid, don’t send federal agents.”
Rush appears intentionally oblivious to just how bad the violence really is. Portland has been wracked by violent riots for the past 56 nights, as antifa rioters threw Molotov cocktails and set off mortars aimed at the federal courthouse. They have also targeted police precincts and set the police union on fire from the inside. While some of the federal agents have allegedly engaged in illegal activity — and those claims are being investigated — their presence is necessary to defend federal property amid violent riots.
Rush’s KKK comments fuel racial propaganda behind riots
The congressman’s ridiculous comparison of DHS and CBP to the KKK is only likely to fuel the racial resentment and propaganda behind the riots. The New York Times‘ “1619 Project” twists history, claiming that America’s true founding came with the arrival of the first slaves, not with the Declaration of Independence. This rationale justifies overhauling American society as fundamentally racist.
When vandals toppled a statue of George Washington in Portland, they spray-painted “1619” on the statue. Claremont’s Charles Kesler wrote in The New York Post, “Call them the 1619 riots,” and the project’s founder, Nikole Hannah-Jones, responded (in a since-deleted tweet) that “it would be an honor” to claim responsibility for the destructive riots and the demonization of Washington.
While Hannah-Jones later deleted that tweet, she has not reversed her claim that destruction of property does not constitute “violence.”
“Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck,” she insisted. “Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violent.”
In a November 9, 1995 op-ed, the 1619 Project founder condemned Christopher Columbus as “no different” from Adolf Hitler and demonized the “white race” as the true “savages” and “bloodsuckers.” She went on to describe “white America’s dream” as “colored America’s nightmare.” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) expressed a similar sentiment when she called for the “dismantling” of America’s “economy and political system,” in order to root out supposed racist oppression.
Portland activist Lilith Sinclair identified herself as “an Afro-Indigenous non-binary local organizer here in Portland, organizing for the abolition of not just the militarized police state but also the United States as we know it.” Sinclair also argued that part of the work in healing “intergenerational wounds of colonization and genocide” involves undoing “the harm of colonized thought that has been pushed onto black and indigenous communities. That’s in regards to Christianity, and in regards to all of these different types of oppressive systems that have introduced and enforced the gender binary on communities that did not ascribe to that way of thinking, including indigenous communities both Native American and across Africa.”
The idea that basic American norms are “colonized thought” and people of color must brainwash themselves to escape the “oppression” of America is absurd and dangerous.
Rush’s decision to demonize federal law enforcement is only likely to convince more people of this Orwellian redefinition. If federal officials protecting federal property from an angry and destructive mob are somehow like the KKK, what does that mean for police, elected officials, and people in all positions of authority? Is America secretly a horrific white supremacist nation headed by a “Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan”?
Such claims are fatuous — but more and more Americans have been brainwashed and primed to accept them, and the results are playing out on the streets of Portland.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.