At a CNN town hall in Cincinnati, US President Joe Biden made a bizarre admission: “I don’t care if you think I’m Satan reincarnated,” he said to the crowd.
Jan 6: Mostly peaceful?
Biden’s claim is inexplicable in Jewish terms which views Satan as an agent subservient to God or typically regarded as a metaphor for the Yetzer Hara, or “evil inclination”.
The context was in response to a question posed by moderator Don Lemon who asked if he had confidence Republicans and Democrats could work together given the political impasse regarding the investigation into the riot inside the Capitol Building that accompanied the Washington DC protest on January 6.
A 13-member bipartisan House committee was being formed to investigate the incident but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Wednesday rejected two Republicans nominated by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to be on the committee.
“The fact is you can’t look at that television and say nothing happened on the sixth and listen to people who say this was a peaceful march,” Biden said in response to the question.
The exchange was more than a bit absurd since CNN was widely criticized for its coverage of the riots that accompanied BLM protests last year. The network made several reports showing graphic violence including riots and burning buildings which CNN described as “mostly peaceful”.
The riots last year, triggered by the killing of George Floyd by a policeman, killed 25 people, led to over 2,000 law enforcement officers being wounded, over 14,000 arrests, and $1-2 billion in damages, mostly to small businesses.
In comparison, an estimated 30,000 protestors arrived in Washington DC on January 6, though some estimates put this number much higher. Around 1:00 PM, a few hundred people, mostly from fring groups, stormed the Capitol Building with many of them succeeding in entering the building. Some vandalized and looted the offices of Nancy Pelosi as well as those of other members of Congress. By 6:00 PM, order was restored. $30 million were required for repairs and security measures. 5 deaths were reported: one rioter who was shot and killed by a policeman, one protester from a drug overdose, and three protestors from natural causes. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died several days later and it was determined that he passed away from natural causes. 500 people have been charged with crimes connected to the riot.
Jim Crow on steroids
Though Biden refrained from describing Republicans in Satanic terms, he referred to GOP efforts to federalize elections and require voter ID as “Jim Crow on steroids.”
“I stand by what I said,” Biden told Lemon. “Never before has there been an attempt by state legislatures to take over the ability to determine who won — not count the votes, determine who won.”
Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. Instituted in the 1870s, they were eliminated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, seven years before Biden was first elected to the Senate.
Biden also addressed the issue of the pandemic which has seen a resurgence in the US with new cases rising to more than 37,000 on Tuesday, leaping from less than 13,700 on July 6, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Biden campaigned on claims that his predecessor mishandled the crisis. While entering office with a vaccine and distribution system created under Trump already in place, the current administration has yet toi bring the pandemic under control.