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Editorial: Colleagues must hold Rep. Cori Bush to the same standards applied to Trump

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in Political News

The thing about standards is, they’re worthless unless they are applied uniformly. A standard that applies to politicians on the right should apply equally to those on the left. After year upon year of Democrats ranting and railing about President Donald Trump’s penchant for lying and fomenting divisiveness — with The Washington Post keeping a daily count of how many lies Trump told — the same rules should apply when politicians on the left lower themselves to Trump’s level. St. Louis’ own Rep. Cori Bush deserves to be held to an equal if not higher standard by her Democratic colleagues.

Last week, the billionaire founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, flew into space in his own rocket, developed by his company Blue Origin. Bush used the blatant extravagance of Bezos’ space travel to make a false and incendiary statement, tweeting: “Jeff Bezos going to space is a good time to remember that Amazon used police violence to harass Black workers in Bessemer, Alabama to stop them from unionizing.”

Bush was referring to the campaign earlier this year to unionize Amazon warehouse employees in Bessemer. Bush had joined other lawmakers in traveling to Bessemer to show solidarity with pro-union activists. Ultimately, the Amazon employees voted overwhelmingly not to unionize by a vote of 1,798 to 738.

There was, in fact, a police presence during the unionization vote, but there is no documented police violence of any kind. Specifically, there were no reports of police efforts to harass Black workers. The police presence, which reportedly included off-duty cops hired by Amazon, was tasked with security. The unionization effort was not race-specific. Bush’s accusations of police violence toward Black workers seemed a thinly disguised bid to inflame tensions with police and introduce a racial element where none existed.

 

Trump deserved to be called out for his constant lying via social media. The effect of his antics was to divide Americans and blur the line between fact and fiction. Trump also nurtured the anti-mask and vaccine-skepticism movements that now are causing a resurgence of coronavirus infections. Trump was banned, and deservedly so, from major social media for his behavior.

Bush deserves to be held to the same standard, or at least be warned officially that she’s skating too close to the edge. When Bush allows herself to play this game of distortion, she only mirrors Trump’s antics rather than rises above them. And she deepens the divide that Trump helped create.

Democratic colleagues who were so quick to denounce Trump also need to apply the same rules to their own side of the aisle. If Trump’s needlessly polarizing behavior was not acceptable, then it should be just as unacceptable when the lies emanate from far-left politicians like Bush.

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