clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

To understand the call to violence in Trump’s words, consider the last four years

Trump has played cute with his words, and now his faithful servants in the House are mimicking his feigned innocence.

President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Jan. 6 before a mob of his supporters raided the Capitol.
AP Photos

As the House debated whether to impeach President Donald Trump, Democrats and Republicans characterized very differently the words he used when he spoke to his minions before the Capitol attack. It is clear that Republicans took his words out of context.

That context is actually four-years old. This is a president who said “Don’t protect their head when you shove them into the squad car.” Who praised a lawmaker, then-Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte, for body-slamming a journalist. Who instructed his followers on how to deal with hecklers: “Knock the crap out of them, would you? I promise you I will pay the legal fees.”

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

When John Lewis, the civil rights leader, urged his followers to “Get in trouble, good trouble,” he spoke within the context of a lifetime of non-violent protest. Lewis had been beaten numerous times and never hit back. So when he said to fight like hell, it was fair to characterize his words as figurative. But Trump’s words, in the context of his past words and actions, could be taken more literally.

Trump has played cute about his words — how they have incited others to violence — and now his faithful servants in the House are mimicking his feigned innocence. But Trump’s initial reaction to the Capitol battle revealed his true intent, not the mealy-mouthed recantation he offered later that House Republicans keep referring to.

Donald Trump should be held accountable for what he clearly meant by his words, not for what a more honorable person might have meant by the same words.

Kenneth Stein, Lombard

Better to shoot to wound

When is it justified for a police officer to use deadly force in confronting a suspect?

In most of the recent controversial shootings by the police, it seems the officer used deadly force when shooting to disable should have been the aim — especially so in cases when the officer’s life was not threatened. Shooting someone multiple times indicates a desire to kill.

Police officers must make split-second decisions, but they should be trained to be keenly aware that they do not necessarily have to shoot a suspect in the head or upper body. Perhaps more firearms training and time on the firing range is called for.

Ned L. McCray, Tinley Park

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

New Bill Belichick fan

I’ve never been a Bill Belichick fan, but he’s won me over by refusing to accept the now-tainted Presidential Medal of Freedom, offered to him by the most dishonorable person to ever occupy the White House.

Bob Ory, Elgin