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Aiming for sharp contrast, Trump trial team plays clips of Dems espousing violent political rhetoric

At one press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi implied support for "uprisings" across the U.S.

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Nancy Pelosi at a 2018 press conference in which she implied support for 'uprisings'
Nancy Pelosi at a 2018 press conference in which she implied support for 'uprisings'
(Mark Wilson/Getty)
Updated: February 12, 2021 - 12:35pm

Former President Donald Trump's legal team on Friday attempted on Capitol Hill to draw a sharp contrast between what they claimed was Trump's staid political rhetoric and some of the more violent political remarks of Democrats in recent years, hoping to head off an impeachment conviction that hinges on whether or not Trump's remarks "incited" the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. 

Trump lawyer Michael Van Der Veen at the Senate trial showed a clip in which relatively prosaic remarks by President Trump were juxtaposed with more aggressive remarks from Democrats over the years.

"I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be," Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says in one clip from 2018.

"There needs to be unrest in the streets for as long as there’s unrest in our lives," Democratic Rep. Ayanna Pressely says in other clip, this one dated August of 2020 after months of violent and deadly riots across the country.

The footage also included the infamous 2018 remarks by Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters in which the congresswoman urged supporters to publicly harass Trump administration officials.

"Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up," she said then. "And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. "

The footage also featured now-President Joe Biden's 2018 remarks that, if he and President Trump were in high school, he would "take [Trump] behind the gym and beat the hell out of him," as well as Sen. Cory Booker's 2019 claim that he sometimes "feel[s] like punching" President Trump.