Something about which I've written many, many times is conservatives' insistence that every incident of public violence committed by a Muslim is reflective of jihadism and every incident of public violence committed by a Black person is reflective of an innate propensity for violence and corrupt communities with immoral beliefs, but every incident of public violence committed by a white man is a singular act that exists in a vacuum: Their bootstraps made them do it.
This contemptible exceptionalism was taken to extraordinary new lengths yesterday by Rep. Sean Duffy, during an interview on CNN with host Alisyn Camerota.
Camerota began by grilling Duffy on Trump's Muslim ban, which Duffy naturally defended, eventually whining impassionedly: "Let him protect us! Give him a shot!" And then this happened:
Camerota: Why isn't the president talking about white terrorism?— Eugene Scott (@Eugene_Scott) February 7, 2017
Duffy: There's a difference. https://t.co/YEgSitUsdS
DUFFY: Let him protect us. Give him a shot.Now, everything about this is incredibly despicable. Duffy's frantic, spinning desperation to draw a nonexistent difference between eliminationist violence motivated by religious extremism and eliminationist violence motivated by political extremism (or religious extremism, in the case of anti-choice terrorists, though they were not mentioned here); his utterly filthy admonishment to "look at the good things that came from" the slaughter at Charleston; his straight-up lies about U.S. refugees; his implication that it is leftist violence which has unleashed terror across this nation.
CAMEROTA: Congressman— Congressman, why isn't the president talking about the white terrorists who mowed down six Muslims who were praying at their mosque?
DUFFY: Yeah, I don't know. But I would just tell you, there's a difference— Again, death and murder on both sides is wrong. But if you want to take the dozens of scenarios where ISIS-inspired attacks have taken innocents, and you give me one example of what happened, I think that was in Canada—
DUFFY: —I'm going to condemn them all. But again, you don't have a group like ISIS or Al Qaeda that's inspiring people around the world to take up arms and kill innocents. That was a one-off. That was a one-off, Alisyn. And you have a movement on the other side—
CAMEROTA: Hold on a second. Hold on a second, Congressman.
DUFFY: Bring it on, Alisyn. [laughs]
CAMEROTA: You don't think there are white extremists? You don't remember Oklahoma City? You don't think that this guy who was involved in the mosque shootings said that he was inspired by things that he read online?
DUFFY: So, you give me two examples, right? And in recent time, we would talk about the one example. And there is [sic] radicals all over the world and here in America that will take up arms and do bad things. But if you want to compare this one person in the last ten years that you can give me an example of—Oklahoma was, what, 20 years ago, the Oklahoma City bombing—that's different than this whole movement that's taken place through ISIS, that's inspired attacks. I mean, are you going to compare the one attack up in Canada to all the death and destruction in Europe from refugees, or the attacks in the United States—
CAMEROTA: How about Charleston, Congressman? How about Charleston? How about the Charleston church shooting, Congressman? He was an extremist. He was a white extremist?
DUFFY: Yes, he was. Okay?
CAMEROTA: How about that? That doesn't matter?
DUFFY: No, it does matter. It does matter. Look at the good things that came from it. Nikki Haley took down the Confederate flag; that was great!
But you want to say: I can give you a couple examples. There's no constant threat that goes through these attacks. And you have radical Islamic terrorists and ISIS that are driving the attacks, and if you want to compare those two, maybe you can throw another one—
CAMEROTA: You can.
DUFFY: Look at Gabby Giffords. Look at Gabby Giffords. The Marxist—the Marxist, who took her life, a leftist guy, and now you see violence and terror in the streets all across America, burning and beating people with Donald Trump hats. The violence you have to look at, you're trying to use examples on the right. So, where do you go, the left—
CAMEROTA: Congressman, just to be clear—
DUFFY: —the left has to say violence is wrong, whether we look, love and peace, as you brought up in San Bernardino, why don't we look at Berkeley?
DUFFY: Thank you. People get beat up for wearing a Donald Trump hat, "Make America great again" hat, again, or they get kicked, and stores get vandalized and they burn and they beat— Where does the left, and CNN and MSNBC, stand up and go "this is wrong"? If we're going to have peace in our hearts—
CAMEROTA: Yes, it's wrong when Muslims are attacks as well, and when swastikas are spray-painted on buildings. We've been talking about—
DUFFY: Alisyn, come on.
CAMEROTA: Why are you using isolated— Why do you think that when it's a white terrorist, it's an isolated incident?
DUFFY: What I am saying is: You have a cell, a heart, a beat of ISIS that's inspiring people around the world. And do you deny that? That's going to Europe and come to America—
DUFFY: —whether it's lone wolves. So what is the heartbeat of the attack that you referenced in the mosque? Or what happened in Charleston? Is there a common theme?
CAMEROTA: Extremism. Hatred. White supremacy.
DUFFY: Can we vet that? How should we vet that to keep ourselves safe? I will join you in that effort, what do we do?
CAMEROTA: Do you not think it was white supremacy? This is what the shooter said it was.
DUFFY: Yes, it's horrible. So, what should we do? I mean, I'll join you— What do we do on the white supremacy front to make sure we don't have another attack like Charleston? I am with you on that, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Speak out about it, and crack down on it, talk about it as extreme violence much as we about—
DUFFY: Yes, yes!
CAMEROTA: —terrorism that you call radical Islamic terrorism.
DUFFY: So let's crack down on ISIS. Let's crack down on the seven terror countries that are riddled with terrorists and give Donald Trump 90 days to 120 days, give him a pause, to make sure he can keep us safe. Because you know what? If we could have vetted that guy who went into the mosque in Canada or the guy that went into the church in Charleston and kept them from those deaths, wouldn't we do that? Wouldn't we take that step together? So, if we would try to prevent those attacks in America from two examples you gave me, why couldn't we, if we can protect America from people who might come in to do us harm, why wouldn't we do that? The argument is the same on both sides.
CAMEROTA: Yeah, the only problem with your argument is that there is no terror attack that a refugee—no deadly terror attack that a refugee has been responsible for.
DUFFY: But there have been in Europe. Many in Europe.
CAMEROTA: Right. But not here.
DUFFY: And this, but again, this is a pause, Alisyn. So, why not take a pause? Why not learn from Europe and say we can take a pause, we can review, we can analyze, and then we can bring those people in who are truly victims, and want to come in and need a refugee status. They need a new home. I am with you on that front.
CAMEROTA: Okay. Congressman Sean Duffy, thank you very much for the debate. Nice to talk to you, as always. [said in a tone that clearly indicated it was not, in fact, nice to talk to him]
But note the number of things this Republican "expert" on terrorism just gets flatly wrong.
1. He isn't sure where Alexandre Bissonnette's white supremacist murder of Muslims took place: "I think that was in Canada."
2. He imagines that the examples provided by Camerota are the only examples of white supremacist acts of mass violence in recent years, which they are absolutely not. Nor are they the only examples of movement-inspired mass violence committed by white men (see, as mentioned, anti-choice terrorism).
3. He believes Gabby Giffords is dead. "Look at Gabby Giffords. The Marxist—the Marxist, who took her life..."
4. He confuses the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings.
5. He unaccountably asserts that a Muslim ban will somehow prevent white supremacist terrorism, despite the fact that all of the white men who have perpetrated these acts were American.
He has no idea—none—what he is talking about. All he knows is his own garbage ideas about jihadism being a movement, but white supremacy being something we can't "vet" and thus can't prevent.
Even by the rock bottom standards of conservative racism and ignorance of anything resembling facts, this is remarkably offensive.
This is where we are: White supremacists in Congress spinning their gross fever dreams about killer refugees, being sent out as experts, when they don't even know that Gabby Giffords is very much alive.