If you’ve been on social media the last few days (and as usual, I don’t recommend it), you probably saw this clip of an audience member at a Turning Point USA event telling group founder Charlie Kirk (to some applause, mind you) about his passionate desire to murder people who don’t believe lies about the 2020 election.
In response, Kirk broke down and made a passionate speech imploring his audience to never murder anyone, saying that they are fellow Americans and we always resolve things peacefully no matter how heated things get, before asking the person and anyone who agreed with him about violence to leave the event.
Just kidding. He didn’t do any of that. Read the full transcript for yourself.
Sure, Kirk specifically started by saying that he denounced the audience member. But he then proceeded to agree with the audience member that Americans are “living under fascism” and “tyranny” and to say violence is the wrong response “because you're playing into all their plans and they're trying to make you do this.” He also made a long call for state nullification of federal laws, a very old anti-constitutional argument that was finally settled by a little-known skirmish called the Civil War.
Kirk finally circled back one more time on where the line is on murdering innocent Americans and essentially said: idk 🤷
CHARLIE KIRK: And so what is the line? Look, man, I think, I think we're – I think we're at the teetering edge of a regime that knows that good and decent Americans are going to get to the place in the movie Network: I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore, right? Well, guess what? Know that there's a deeper game at play. Understand the psychological warfare that's being played here. They're trying to animate you. They're trying to get you to do something that then justifies what they actually want to do. So what's the solution? We need to start to demand Idaho to be Idaho, and the federal government can stay out of the state of Idaho for most, just about everything. So thank you for being here tonight. Thank you.
This is a lot of things, but it is clearly not a clarion call for the ages against political violence. He’s simply trying to win the crowd over and get past this moment and go back to pushing the same old lies.
This isn’t some sort of secret or controversial reading of his answer, either.
Kirk did a similar thing leading up to January 6: pushing election lies, bragging about sending people, calling for then-Vice President Mike Pence to do a coup. Then when the attack happened, he was on board until it was clear it was a political loser.
We ought not bend over backward to give these moral cowards the benefit of the doubt. In fact, the opposite is true: Kirk is obligated to show to the American public that he and TPUSA are more than a bunch of thugs willing to topple American democracy when given the chance.
Meanwhile, the allegedly woke people at Twitter were quick to decide that Kirk could definitely not be blamed for anything.
CNN was even worse, misleadingly editing Kirk’s answer to show only the part where he “denounced” the speaker.
CNN is airing a “Stop the Vote: The Big Lie's Assault on Democracy” special tonight at 9 p.m. But if the network really cared about stopping the the lie, it would point out that Kirk's election lies fueled the entire interaction.
The fact is that right-wing political elites ginned up these election lies that would provide the pretext for political violence. If people are intent on not holding liars to account for the obvious consequences of their lies, then the violence is inevitable.