“Any time you storm a government building there’s some wrong being done, but it does not warrant the two-tiered justice system that we’re seeing with the J Sixers,” Allen Mashburn, a pastor and lieutenant governor candidate in North Carolina, said on American Family Radio Wednesday.
Enrique Tarrio, former leader of “Proud Boys,” was sentenced to 22 years in prison Monday after being found guilty in May on charges of seditious conspiracy and other felonies.
The Hill reported that U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly told the court the sentence was less than the 33 years sought by federal prosecutors but he decided to issue a higher sentence than other Jan. 6 participants with the hope it would act as a deterrent.
“That day broke our previously unbroken tradition of peacefully transferring power, which is truly among the most precious things that we had as Americans,” Kelly told the court. “That previously unbroken tradition is broken now. It’s going to take time and effort to fix it.”
Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison in May. Ethan Nordean, a Proud Boys lieutenant under Tarrio, received the same sentence last week. Those were the longest sentences before Kelly dealt 22 years to Tarrio.
The Hill reported that Tarrio appeared confident and engaged with his attorneys before he apologized to members of Congress and others, and called Jan. 6 a “national embarrassment.”
According to a Newsmax account, Tarrio said, “My candidate lost. I persisted when I should have calmed. I failed miserably. This trial has humbled me.”
He neither admitted nor denied taking part in a plot to attack the U.S. Capitol for which a jury convicted him.
Prosecutors implied that Tarrio would have been on the Capitol grounds had he not been arrested upon his arrival in Washington, according to Newsmax.
In the AFR interview, Mashburn said the sentence does not fit the crime and should be considered a threat to those who demonstrate against the government.
“We have a two-tiered justice system, and I think we all should be very, very concerned about this," he warned. "We’re all on the chopping block here. They’re wanting to get to all of us, and that’s exactly what’s happening with the J-Sixers."
Nobody is suggesting the rioters did not commit a crime that day, he added, but the race riots in recent years cost $2 billion in damages and claimed the lives of innocent people.
"That’s what an insurrection looks like," Mashburn insisted, "not storming a government building.”
Regarding those riots across the nation, an Axios report in the fall of 2020 estimated paid insurance claims to land between $1 billion and $2 billion.
Where’s the GOP in all of this?
Complicating matters for the Jan. 6 defendants is the lack of public support from the Republican Party.
Fearing for their safety, many of those elected officials fled when the rioters breached the grounds, but they then witnessed Democrats impeach Donald Trump over the riot.
Any outrage from most 2024 GOP candidates is missing, which Mashburn has noticed.
“It’s very disappointing and the entire GOP system is very disappointing in this because their silence is speaking volumes. The GOP needs to man up and be all over this,” Mashburn said.
GOP candidate Vivek Ramaswamy (pictured above) posted about the sentencing of Tarrio and others on X, formerly Twitter, Tuesday night.
“This is wrong, and it’s sad that I’m the only candidate with the spine to say it,” Ramaswamy wrote.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running a distant second to Donald Trump, has spoken in broad terms about pardoning individuals he believes have been politically targeted, but he has remained silent on the sentences being handed out.
Forbes has reported that DeSantis sees an unfair and “weaponized” Department of Justice and that many incidents have received an “uneven application of justice.” He has made comparisons between a Black Lives Matter protester and a Jan. 6 protester, and how they have been treated by the justice system.
A red-state resistance is rising up
Beyond the issue of Jan. 6, Mashburn is upset by what he sees as stagnation within the Republican party.
He says continuing problems are being addressed with the same methods, and no progress is being made.
“Ordinary people are rising up, and they're running for office because they care about this country. Too much blood has been shed on the battlefields of the world by our veterans to sit idly by,” he said.
In many instances, states with conservative governors and legislatures have begun their own change.
“On the state level, I want to be the leader that raises the standard of the Constitution and the rule of law. You come in our state, and you want to wreak our system, you want to spread your Marxism, you want to riot in our streets, there's going to be a price to pay because there are workers, there are employers out there, there are people, good people, who are living right and abiding by the law and they want to just go home and be safe with their family,” Mashburn said.
Mashburn said the current times demand a different approach.
“We have to stand on principle, and I think politics, and I say this everywhere I go, politics as usual must die. The house of America, the house of our states, our house is on fire. We can’t continue acting the same way as we always have acted, otherwise we get the same thing we always have gotten. We have got to be different.”