On Sunday, Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had a stern warning to those who caused chaos in Thomas Jefferson’s birthplace: we’re going to find you. On August 12, white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. Far left protesters from the equally deplorable Antifa (anti-fascist) sect also showed up. Melees broke out, scores of people were injured, and one woman, Heather Heyer, died when a white nationalist plowed through counter demonstrators. It was a terrible weekend. The driver, James Alex Fields, Jr., has been charged with the second-degree murder of Heyer. Yet, when discussing the situation, the governor seemed to be echoing President Trump concerning the disposition of these two groups: they’re both violent bullying thugs. On CNN’s State of the Union with host Jake Tapper, the governor said that all acts of violence, even those committed by Antifa, and there were some, would be pursued to the fullest extent of the law (via The Hill):
“If you came to Virginia and you committed some act of violence, we are going to come after you and we are going to arrest you,” McAuliffe told CNN’s “State of the Union,” when asked about anti-fascist protesters who clashed with white nationalists at the rally.
The governor made clear that while all individuals are entitled to protest peacefully, any violent acts will not be tolerated.
“You commit a crime of violence, I don’t care which side you’re on, we’re going to come and get you.”
The governor made a specific reference to a protester who MacGyvered an aerosol can to be used as a flamethrower during the protests.
“I saw a picture today of a gentleman with an aerosol can like a flamethrower – we’re going to track you down,” said McAuliffe.
Over the weekend, Antifa struck again in Berkeley, where the Patriot Prayer rally, which was not a white supremacist event, was shut down. Once again melees between these left wing thugs, journalists, and Trump supporters broke out. There’s been some criticism that the police pretty much backed away and didn’t do enough to bring order to the situation, but that’s a story for another time.
Independent Journal Review’s Benny Johnson asked the governor about the violence in Berkeley and this was his response:
“I disavow anyone — we won't tolerate violence of any kind. You’re entitled to protest. First Amendment certainly protected. As I've said after Charlottesville, anyone who came to our state, anyone who committed violence, on any side, will be arrested. [...] Everybody’s entitled to do their protest but were not going to accept violence from anybody.”
That sort of sounds like a more eloquent way of saying what Trump said over the past couple of days, that both sides were violent and shared equal blame in the chaos; remarks that drove the liberal media insane. Now, there are a few things that were wrong. Trump said that there were some good people just there to protest the statue’s removal. That wasn’t the case. Everyone who was there to protest the removal of Robert E. Lee was either a white nationalist or a neo-Nazi. It was also organized by the alt-right, so who in their right mind, who cherishes history, would want to hang around a bunch of Nazis. There were no good people. Yes, both sides were violent, but a white nationalist was the one who decided to kill someone.
Trump should have just condemned the white nationalists outright since there was definitely going to be a time when Antifa would be pegged for the violence outright. That was Berkeley. The point is both sides are terrible. Both sides have their fair share of thugs. And, yes, both sides are to blame for the violence. Frankly, if McAuliffe were a Republican, he might get torched for the “any side” remark. Alas, he’s not, but is there a double standard here? I think so. Yet, yhe Left still needs some convincing about both parties--white nationalists and Antifa--representing the worst of America. Also, even CNN noted that Antifa was beating up reporters.