Pelosi: Capitol Rioters Chose 'Their Whiteness Over Democracy'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Many leftists and Democrats have attempted to frame the Capitol riots in terms of race, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took the cake on Tuesday. She claimed that when pro-Trump rioters breached the U.S. Capitol building, engaged in vandalism, and caused the deaths of five people, they acted because they chose “their whiteness over democracy.”


Pelosi attributed the riots to race in a video meeting with her hometown San Francisco constituents. NowThis shared a snippet of the video on Twitter on Tuesday. She condemned the president for downplaying the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic and then argued that the Capitol riots were an epiphany, a revelation of racism.

Pelosi noted that January 6 marks the feast of the Epiphany in the Western liturgical calendar (a feast that Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, and others celebrate). She also noted that the word “epiphany” has “the connotation of an awakening, that people will realize in a different way.”

“I thought it was going to be an epiphany for those who were in opposition to our democracy to see the light. Instead, it has been an epiphany for the world to see that there are people in our country led by this presdient, for the moment, who have chosen their whiteness over democracy. That’s what this is about,” Pelosi argued.

“There was an article written a number of years ago on democracy which said, ‘I fear the day when white Americans will have to choose between their whiteness and this democracy.’ And we saw what happened that day. This cannot be exaggerated,” Pelosi argued. “The complicity—not only the complicity, the instigation, of the President of the United States must and will be addressed.”


She went on to gush over Kamala Harris, noting that Harris will become the first female vice president, the first black vice president, and the first Asian American vice president. “We’re very very proud of that beautiful diversity,” Pelosi gushed.

Pelosi’s claim that the rioters chose “their whiteness over democracy” would be hilarious if it weren’t so tragically convincing to so many on the Left.

President Donald Trump won more black and Hispanic voters than he did in 2016 and he won more of them than most Republican presidential candidates in recent decades. Ironically, the candidate that the Left spent years demonizing as a racist lost the presidency because white voters abandoned him, while black and Hispanic voters moved in his direction.

In fact, this is one of the many reasons Trump voters thought it rather plausible that the election was “stolen” from the president. The Hispanic vote swing buoyed Trump to victory in the pivotal swing state of Florida, even while the president narrowly lost many of the other swing states he needed to win reelection.


Trump was within his rights to contest the 2020 election results, but his repeated claim that he really won the election in a “landslide” was dangerous. The legacy media and others unfairly dismissed some serious voting irregularities, rather than investigating and thoroughly debunking them, compounding the danger of Trump’s rhetoric.

When a horde of Trump supporters massed in Washington, D.C., on January 6, they gathered because they thought the election had been stolen, not for racial reasons. None of that justifies the heinous assault on the Capitol, but it is patently false to characterize the rioters as having “chosen whiteness.” They chose Donald Trump after Trump had gained more black and Hispanic voters while losing white voters.

It was disgusting for Pelosi to turn this tragedy into a racial issue, especially given her record on the Black Lives Matter-inspired riots this past summer. When rioters vandalized statues, she dismissed the violence by saying, “People will do what they will do.” She condemned the police’s response to Black Lives Matter rioters — even when they set fire to a historic church near the White House. She did ultimately condemn the violence, a few months after it started.

Pelosi attacked the Capitol rioters for “whiteness” in order to twist the riot to fit her narrative: Black Lives Matter protests good, pro-Trump protests evil. In reality, both kinds of protest have devolved into heinous and destructive riots, but only one kind of riot continued throughout the summer while Democrats championed the protests and coddled the rioters.


Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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