MSNBC host Joe Scarborough went on a strange rant Tuesday, accusing his critics of equating rioting in cities across America last year with the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6, even saying he wouldn’t confuse a “taco stand with the United States Capitol.”
“I know there are idiots on other cable news channels that will say, ‘Well, this mom-and-pop store was vandalized during the summer riots, and that’s just as bad as the United States Capitol being vandalized.’ No jackass, it’s not,” Scarborough said on “Morning Joe” as co-host Mika Brzezinski laughed uncomfortably.
“The Capitol of the United States of America is the center of American democracy. And while I am a fierce believer in people’s right to defend their private property, I’m not going to confuse a taco stand with the United States Capitol. I’m not going to confuse the selling of tacos with actually moving through a constitutional process that is laid out in the United States Constitution for members of the House and the Senate to actually perform their constitutional duties. No. No. No. Property damage does not equal insurrection.”
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After The Daily Caller posted the clip later Tuesday, Scarborough rounded on the publication, tweeting: “Are you too stupid to understand the destruction of personal property is abhorrent, and at the same time realize that a terrorist attack against the US Capitol is a greater threat to America?”
Scarborough then tried to head off further criticism by asserting that he opposed all political violence.
“No jackass,” Scarborough wrote after The Daily Caller sent him video of a Kenosha, Wis., man whose furniture store was burned down. “It was a furniture store. And the freaks who burned it down should rot in jail until they pay him back.”
Racially charged riots marred city landscapes throughout 2020, as the country reeled from economic devastation from the coronavirus pandemic and calls to address racial injustices and police brutality. A report last year estimated the violence would cost over $1 billion in insurance claims, and at least 25 deaths were linked to the civic unrest.
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Then-Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden condemned last year’s violence, but running mate Kamala Harris promoted a fund to bail out rioters, and some Democrats and media members defended or justified the riots to some degree last year.
The Capitol riot, which has been linked to at least five deaths, has received bipartisan condemnation and calls for swift justice against those who breached the building and committed any acts of violence.
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Former President Donald Trump was impeached for inciting the violence due to his rhetoric leading up to the attack, which included his false, repeated claims that he truly won the 2020 election. All but 10 House Republicans voted against impeachment, and all but seven Senate Republicans voted to convict him, although that made it the most bipartisan impeachment conviction vote in history.
Scarborough is a former GOP congressman who left the party in 2017 over opposition to Trump, although he provided friendly coverage of Trump’s campaign for much of the 2016 primary process.