The first person President Donald Trump put on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was Timothy Kelly. He’s been serving on that court since 2017, and he just gave out the severest sentence yet in any January 6-related case. In fact, when all is said and done, I believe the 22 years Judge Kelly gave to former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio will maintain its status as the longest sentence. The only person who could conceivably receive a longer one is Trump himself.

Tarrio was convicted of seditious conspiracy with a terrorism enhancement, and that’s in spite of the fact that he spent January 6, 2021 in Baltimore. Proud Boys Zachary Rehl and Joe Biggs were the leaders on the ground at the Capitol, and they along with Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes all received sentences between 15 and 18 years. But if you think conservatives are horrified by their behavior or want to maintain some distance, you are sadly mistaken. Anywhere you look, from Salem Media Group’s Twitchy site to Newsmax to Alex Jones’ radio show to the Colorado state GOP, the response is the same.

In their minds, these sentences are outlandishly long for “non-violent” crimes and indicate that conservatives are under attack by a weaponized Justice Department and Deep State. The messaging is that the January 6 rioters are being railroaded, denied their basic constitutional rights and poorly treated in prison. Here’s what happens when you try to disabuse them of these beliefs:

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, ripped the Colorado GOP’s letter about treatment of Jan. 6 defendants, as he broke down the “false claims” that the state’s party outlined.

In a response circulated publicly Tuesday, Buck wrote to El Paso County Republican Party Vice Chairman Todd Watkins about the claims he made in the state party’s letter, which garnered more than 200 signatures…

…In response to Buck, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, and attacked his positions and sought to undermine his credibility. She noted that he had not visited the Jan. 6 defendants in jail and that, more recently, he has expressed doubts about impeaching Biden. She also raised the fact that he voted to certify the 2020 election on Jan. 6, 2021.

“Ken Buck’s letter to Mr. Watkins of the El Paso County GOP appeared to show full support of Biden’s Weaponized Government and a total disconnect from the cruel reality of J6 defendants and the American people,” Greene wrote.

“Draining the swamp means impeaching criminal politicians, stopping a communist weaponized government, and objecting to stolen elections. Not apologizing for communists abusing their power to persecute their political enemies,” she added.

Talking about the long sentences with Eric Bolling of Newsmax, Sarah Palin was a little less vituperative, but the message was similar.

It’s so disheartening, the examples that you’ve given, Eric. It makes the populace lose a lot of faith in our government and that’s an understatement. Unfortunately, what this leads to, when we recognize the examples that you just gave, the two-tier different justice systems that apply according to politics, you know it makes the good guy think what’s the use in being a good guy. We’re gonna be punished, you know, we’re picked on, is what we are under this system.

Notice that Palin uses “we” to describe the situation, fully self-identifying with the convicted seditious conspiracists. She doesn’t stop for a second to consider that the harshest sentence was doled out by Trump’s top pick for the DC Circuit Court. Why would a Trumpy judge see things so differently?

A federal judge sentenced Enrique Tarrio, the former leader of the far-right Proud Boys, to 22 years behind bars, after ruling Tuesday that Tarrio’s actions qualified as terrorism.

“I just don’t think this is actually a close call,” Kelly said while explaining his decision to apply a terrorism enhancement to Tarrio’s sentence following his May conviction for seditious conspiracy and other charges related to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol…

…“It is kind of hard to put into words how important the peaceful transfer of power is,” Kelly said. “Our country was founded as an experiment in self-government by the people, but it cannot long endure if the way we elect our leaders is threatened with force and violence.”

“Mr. Tarrio was the ultimate leader, the ultimate person who organized, who was motivated by revolutionary zeal,” Kelly said at the end of the three hour hearing, adding that he has shown “no remorse.”

“What happened that day did not honor the founders, it was the kind of thing they wrote the Constitution to prevent,” the judge said.

And, so the Trump-appointed Judge Kelly threw the book at Tarrio, including the “not a close call” terrorism enhancement. And yet the response is to pull closer to the criminals, to show solidarity with them, agitate for pardons and further poison the right against our institutions.

There couldn’t be a clearer demonstration that these folks cannot be reasoned with and that the only way to protect our country is to be severe and unmerciful in the application of responsibility and justice. Their talk is dangerous, but it’s also cheap. Nothing speaks louder than 15-22 years in a the federal pokey.

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