In a speech and press conference last week, President-elect Joe Biden reiterated his goal “to unify this country.” Three minutes later, he accused President Donald Trump, Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Josh Hawley, R-Mo., of being “part of the Big Lie,” comparing them to Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels.
Biden referred to Trump’s repeated statements that “the press is bad” and that there was election fraud as “the Big Lie.” Biden made it clear that he holds the President and Senators responsible for repeatedly attacking the press and questioning the 2020 election, leading directly to the breach of the Capitol on January 6.
Hawley and Cruz were among eight senators and 139 representatives who objected to certifying the election results from Arizona and Pennsylvania. Moving forward, the incident raises some important questions for all of us.
Biden was asked by a reporter, “You have called for unity and healing in this country, but after the events of Wednesday [i.e., the breach of the Capitol], does that make your job easier or harder?” He replied:
I think it makes my job easier, quite frankly. I’ve had a number of my Republican colleagues, former colleagues, I used to serve in the Senate for a long time, call me. Many of them are as outraged, and disappointed, and embarrassed, and mortified, by the president’s conduct as I am and Democrats are. And I have said from the beginning, and I have not changed my view, my overarching objective is to unify this country. We must unify the country, and I think that …
The incoming president then went on to talk about the attack on the Capitol and the makeup of the Republican Party, calling out Senator Cruz by name:
I think they [Republicans] understand that we need a Republican Party. We need an opposition that’s principled and strong. I think you’re going to see them going through this idea of what constitutes the Republican Party. And to hear some of my Republican colleagues talk about how shameful it is of the way Ted Cruz and others are dealing with this, how they’re responsible as well for what happened.
The reporter asked, “Do you think some of them should resign? Should Senator Cruz or Senator Hawley resign?” Biden responded:
Well, I think they should be just flat beaten the next time they run. I think the American public has a real good clear look at who they are. They’re part of the Big Lie, the Big lie. I was being reminded by a friend of mine. Maybe you were with me, I can’t recall, when we were told that, Goebbels and the great lie. You keep repeating the lie, repeating the lie.
“The big lie” was a term used by Adolf Hitler in Mein Kampf, where he accused Jews of propagating the falsehood, a “colossal untruth,” that blamed the German loss of WWI on Erich Ludendorff, a German general. Hitler said a big lie had to be so colossal that most people “would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously.”
Goebbels wrote of the big lie, “The English follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.”
Right after talking about the big lie, Biden spoke about Trump’s distrust of the media before his election:
By the way, Trump said that before he ran, “If you say it enough, I’m going to convince you. I’ll say it enough.” The press is bad. The press is bad. The press is bad. The press is bad. If he’s the only one saying it, that’s one thing, but the acolytes that follow him like Cruz and others, they are as responsible as he is.
Sen. Hawley responded to the accusation in a press release – pointing out incidents when Democrats questioned election results:
President-elect Biden has just compared me and another Republican Senator to Nazis. You read that correctly. Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. Because I raised questions in the format prescribed by the laws of the United States about the way elections were conducted in the state of Pennsylvania, just as Democrats did about other states in 2001, 2005, and 2017, he is calling me a Nazi. This is undignified, immature, and intemperate behavior from the President-elect. It is utterly shameful. He should act like a dignified adult and retract these sick comments. And every Democrat member of congress should be asked to disavow these disgusting comments.
Sen. Cruz countered Biden’s remarks with a Tweet:
Really sad. At a time of deep national division, President-elect Biden’s choice to call his political opponents literal Nazis does nothing to bring us together or promote healing. This kind of vicious partisan rhetoric only tears our country apart.
Prior to January 6, Cruz and Hawley, along with 10 other senators, issued a joint statement that they would object to certifying the presidential election results:
The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.
Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.
The release went on to say that there was widespread concern about election fraud, with a poll showing “that 39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged.’ That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%).”
The statement said courts should have heard the evidence of election fraud that was presented to them, and said:
Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.
The day after the certification vote, Cruz issued a statement calling the attack on the Capitol “a despicable act of terrorism and a shocking assault on our democratic system.” He also called for the Department of Justice to prosecute those involved.
At the same time, Cruz defended his call for an electoral commission “to give Americans confidence in this past election and in elections going forward.” He added, “Millions of Americans who have peacefully expressed their deep concerns regarding election integrity deserve to have their voices heard. It was the right thing to do.”
The left and many in the mainstream media have spent more than four years calling President Trump and his supporters fascists, Nazis and a threat to democracy. Just do an internet search with Trump and any of those terms. It seems to me that if Trump were a fascist, he would have completely shut down and suppressed his opponents. That certainly has not happened during his term.
All this brings up some important questions:
- Is it okay to have concerns about the 2020 election and the possibility of fraud?
- Are we allowed to voice those questions and concerns?
- Why don’t Democrats and the media want to investigate the 2020 elections and establish an electoral commission to ensure that our elections are safe and secure?
- Are we allowed to question the mainstream media’s narratives?
- Are we Nazis if we do so?
- Who are the ones suppressing opposing voices, censoring news stories, and not even reporting important news?
And finally, if healing and unity are what we want as a nation, is this even possible, given such inflammatory rhetoric?
Photo from MIKE THEILER/REUTERS