A Republican politician believes that the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, protesting the certification of the election of then-President-elect Joe Biden, felt envious of Black Lives Matter activists who participated in civil unrest the previous summer. He said they had “riot envy.”
Freshman Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan fleshed out this theory on a recent appearance on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” with Chuck Todd.
Todd asked the GOP congressman, “You’ve got one party that’s being led by Trump here that seems to be trying to delegitimize our democracy. Does that concern you?”
He responded, “But I also see another party that’s trying to delegitimize our democracy in far less dramatic ways.”
“At least, you know, not guys with Viking hats, you know, bare-chested, running into the Capitol, but calling for packing the Supreme Court, calling for abolishing the Senate,” he continued.
“And frankly, doing the same thing, the same justifications that I saw from some members of my party after the riots last summer. They say, ‘Well, why is it so bad that we stormed the Capitol? You know, they were the ones burning down these cities.’ The sense of riot envy,” he explained.
Meijer referenced the 2020 summer of civil unrest that gripped the nation after a series of police-involved killings, starting with the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
There were at least 12 high-profile cases since 2014 that fueled those protests, including Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, and the 2020 deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Floyd.
The politician said the nation is in an “incredibly dangerous” position and could hurt both parties.
“I think the threat of violence is probably more pronounced on the right today,” he said just days before the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection. “But that does not mean the left is not capable as well. And that is what we need to cease.”
Investigations are continuing into the right-wing coup attempt. On Sunday, Jan. 2, Republican Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who is also the vice chair of the committee, said on a different news show, “ABC News State of the Union,” that Donald Trump was aware of the unrest and was asked by his daughter, then-senior adviser Ivanka Trump, to intervene.
Cheney said, “We have firsthand testimony that his daughter Ivanka went in at least twice to ask him to ‘please stop this violence.’” Trump’s video message to the rioters hours into the putsch attempt was memorable for the lines: “Go home. We love you.”
As a result, Meijer became one of ten House Republicans that voted to impeach the former president following the Capitol riots. In November Trump endorsed Meijer’s opponent in the 2022 Republican primary for Meijer’s House seat.
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