President Donald Trump has been compared to Osama bin Laden by Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell, who remains on the House Intelligence Committee despite his reported ties with an alleged Chinese spy.
"Osama bin Laden did not enter US soil on Sept. 11, but it was widely acknowledged that he was responsible for inspiring the attack on our country… And the president, with his words — using the word ‘fight,’ with the speakers that he assembled that day, who called for trial by combat and said we have to take names and kick a--, that is hate speech that inspired and radicalised people to storm the Capitol,” Swalwell said in an interview with PBS NewsHour on 12 January.
According to Swalwell, who skyrocketed from a small-town councilman in Dublin, California to the US House of Representatives in 2015, many of those arrested in the wake of the Capitol riots said they had been "called there by the president."
When NewsHour host Judy Woodruff asked Swalwell if he was comparing Trump to Osama bin Laden, the congressman quipped:
"I’m comparing the words of a[n] individual who would incite and radicalise somebody, as Osama bin Laden did, to what President Trump did. You don’t actually have to commit the violence yourself, but if you call others to violence, that itself is a crime."
The congressman previously referred to a number of pro-Trump Republicans in Congress as the "Coup Klux Klan" and called GOP lawmakers "terrorists" when they voiced election fraud concerns.
EVIDENCE: This Coup Klux Klan member gave her terrorist friends the location of a woman second in line to the presidency during an attack on the Capitol. https://t.co/pjuaUTBJLB— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) January 12, 2021
Swalwell’s statements came in the wake of the deadly violence that engulfed the US Capitol on 6 January as Congress met to certify the Electoral College votes in favour of President-elect Joe Biden.
The storming of the US Capitol building came shortly after a "Stop the Steal" rally hosted by Trump outside the White House, when he reiterated claims that the results were fraudulent, and accused the Democrats and tech companies of "rigging" the outcome.
Five people died in the insurrection and Congress was interrupted as thousands of Trump's followers stormed the meeting. The certification was eventually completed after the mob was removed from the building by security.
Eloquent though he may be when it comes to slamming Donald Trump, the congressman has been forced to defend his own alleged ties – and romantic liaisons – with a suspected Chinese spy, who purportedly sought to forge ties with US politicians from 2011-15.
He has also rejected calls by fellow lawmakers to relinquish his role on the Intel Committee in the wake of the embarrassing revelations.