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CNN's Kaitlan Collins Calls Out JD Vance's Blatant January 6th Double Standard—And The Hypocrisy Is Real

After Senator JD Vance told Kaitlan Collins he thought Columbia students who 'break in and vandalize a building should be prosecuted,' Collins exposed the double standard he holds for January 6th rioters.

Screenshot of Kaitlan Collins and J.D. Vance
CNN

CNN anchor Kaitlan Collins challenged Ohio Republican Senator J.D. Vance during a discussion on Wednesday evening about the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses across the country.

Collins questioned Vance on the balance between free speech and student safety amidst the protests, asking whether law enforcement should intervene only when legal violations occur.

Vance responded by emphasizing that Israel is an ally that the U.S. should support but stated that individuals should not be penalized for being either pro- or anti-Israel. However, he agreed that those breaking the law during protests should face legal consequences.

But Collins called out the double standard, noting Vance's past support for fundraising efforts to aid supporters of former President Donald Trump who attacked the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 on the false premise the 2020 election had been stolen.

You can watch their exchange in the video below.

Protests at Columbia University began last month after more than 50 pro-Palestinian students established an encampment and charged that Israel is actively committing genocide while actively demanding that the Ivy League university divest from Israel.

The day after the encampment was set up, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik authorized the New York City Police Department to clear the campus, resulting in mass arrests. Despite this, protestors quickly erected a new encampment the next day.

When discussions regarding divestment reached an impasse, protesters occupied Hamilton Hall on Tuesday, leading to a large-scale response from police and the university administration. This marked the first time since the 1968 Vietnam War protests that Columbia had allowed police to intervene on campus.

The Columbia University protests sparked a wider movement, inspiring similar encampments and ongoing protests at institutions such as Harvard University, Yale University, New York University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, the University of Michigan, and other universities across the nation.

With all this in mind, Vance began with the following statement, saying that the decision to arrest student protesters was justified because they broke the law:

“My view on this is that Israel’s our ally, that we should support them, but you can’t police people for being anti-Israel or pro-Israel. You can police people for violating the law, and we have seen some of that with some of these protests.”

Collins then asked Vance about what crimes should be subject to prosecution:

So you agree that people who break in and vandalize a building should be prosecuted?

To which he responded:

Exactly.

Collins then pivoted to his past support for the insurrectionists who attacked the Capitol:

“I’m just checking because you did help raise money for people who did so on January 6, which was impeding an official proceeding, breaking into a building that they weren’t allowed to be in and vandalizing the Capitol.”

Vance criticized Collins for bringing up the subject, clearly displeased that Collins had pointed out his contradictory stance on the necessity of law enforcement involvement during protests:

"Well, Kaitlin, I know that this is the obsession of the national media to talk about to talk about what happened two years ago, three years ago, on January 6 ... Here's my basic argument." ...
"If you beat up a cop, of course you deserve to go to prison. If you've violated the law, you should suffer the consequences. But there are people who protested on January 6 who had the complete weight of the Justice Department thrown at them when at worst they are accused of misdemeanors."
"Now, again, there are people who are accused of worse offenses and that's a problem but you can't have Black Lives Matter protesters who rioted and vandalized go free when you have people who actually peacefully protested on January 6 who had the book thrown at them. That's the double standard that I'm most worried about."

Collins responded that she doesn't "believe there's an obsession with January 6," noting that Trump has said he would "blanket pardon" those who participated in the attack.

She then asked:

"Are you saying that [a blanket pardon] shouldn't happen? That people who beat up cops [during the attack] should be excluded from that?"

Vance pushed back, saying:

"Well, I think what President Trump has said, and of course he can speak for himself ... is that people who have this double standard applied to them should be pardoned."

Vance's hypocrisy was evident—and people were quick to criticize him following the interview.


Clearly, the events of January 6 have not deterred Vance, who is among several Republicans being vetted to be Trump's potential running mate.

Trump is scheduled to host a fundraiser in Cincinnati on May 15 with Vance listed as a “special guest," according to an invitation obtained by CNN. Members of the host committee are expected to donate or raise $250,000, while attendees are asked to contribute $100,000 per couple or $50,000 per person, as per the event invitation.

Vance previously secured Trump's endorsement during his Senate campaign and is considered one of Trump's strongest allies in Congress, openly supporting Trump's claim of absolute immunity, which is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court. Trump has reportedly been considering Vance as a potential vice-presidential candidate, with plans to announce his running mate early in the summer before the Republican convention.

In a recent Fox News Sunday interview, Vance said he has "never spoken" to Trump about being his running mate. He did, however, state he would seriously consider the role if asked.