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Nancy Pelosi says 'whiteness' to blame for US Capitol riots: 'That's what this is about'


'People in our country, led by this President, for the moment, who have chosen their whiteness over democracy'

Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) claimed over the weekend that rioters who stormed the U.S. Capitol last week were driven to engage in the deadly violence by their "whiteness."

What did Pelosi say?

During an online video conference with her San Francisco constituents, Pelosi invoked the coronavirus pandemic and the Christian feast of "Epiphany" to make a point about the role of race in the attack on the Capitol.

"When that assault was taking place on the Capitol, 3,865 people in our country died of the coronavirus, many of them people of color because of the injustice of it all," Pelosi began, The Hill reported.

"The next day, on Thursday, 4,000 people died of the coronavirus. Why? Because decisions were made at the highest level, months before in the Oval Office, of denial, distortion, delay, calling it a 'hoax,'" she continued.

That's when Pelosi shifted to invoking "Epiphany."

"I thought it was going to be an epiphany for those who were in opposition of our democracy to see the light," Pelosi said. "Instead, it was an epiphany for the world to see that there are people in our country, led by this President, for the moment, who have chosen their whiteness over democracy. That's what this is about."

What role has race played?

In the aftermath of the deadly violence at the Capitol, partisan reaction has claimed there was a double standard of perspective toward the riots.

Left-leaning activists have claimed law enforcement is much tougher when crowds of Black Lives Matter demonstrators gather, while right-leaning activists say the response to the march on the Capitol has been much tougher than any response to Black Lives Matter riots.

Even President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have engaged in such rhetoric.

"You can't tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesters yesterday they wouldn't have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol," Biden said last week. "We all know that is true. And it is totally unacceptable. Totally unacceptable. The American people saw it in plain view."

Meanwhile, Harris claimed the response to the rioters exemplified that there are "two systems of justice" in America.

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