Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has likened the violent riots and straight-up domestic terrorism that took place at the US Capitol last week to the largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in Australia and the US last year. So…Y’all mind if I scream a little bit?

In case you missed it, PM Scott Morrison has yeeted off on a holiday this week, but don’t worry because our acting Prime Minister feels equally qualified to lead and unite the country. And by that, I mean he’s an absolute buffoon.

In an interview with ABC’s RN Breakfast, the acting PM was asked if Donald Trump should be removed from office. Considering a number of huge political names have already called for the 25th Amendment to be enacted, it wouldn’t be particularly controversial for McCormack to condemn Trump’s behaviour at this point.

But nope, that’s not what happened.

“Well, that’s a matter entirely, Sally, for the United States of America. It is unfortunate that we have seen the events at the Capitol Hill that we’ve seen in recent days, similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year,” McCormack said.

“These are unfortunate events and of course, many people don’t remember how you rode the horse; they remember how you dismount the horse. And it is unfortunate that this has occurred. But as far as Donald Trump and his presidency is concerned and the last few days of his administration, well, that’s entirely a matter for the United States of America.”

At this point, we’re just going to go ahead and ignore his total non-answer to the question, which is *extremely* ScoMo energy.

I simply have no time to call McCormack out on his failure to condemn Trump’s blatant disregard for the foundations of democracy because I have wasted the last of my brainpower for the day trying to comprehend how on Earth this man was able to compare the literal domestic terrorism we saw at the Capitol to the generally peaceful BLM protests we saw in 2020.

For context: the Black Lives Matter protests across the globe last year were sparked after the police killing of George Floyd, marking yet *another* Black death at the hands of police. Although Floyd’s death was the catalyst for the protests, millions gathered across the globe to protest the fact that Floyd is quite literally one of countless Black people who have been killed by law enforcement – usually without any sort of justice.

The protests we witnessed last year were a result of people fighting for their right not to be murdered by the very people we employ to protect us. It’d be a lie to say there was no violence or destruction connected to the BLM protests (although, Australia’s events were overwhelmingly peaceful), but we’re comparing apples and oranges here when it comes to the events we saw last week.

However, there is a clear difference between the behaviour of the BLM protesters and the literal domestic terrorism and straight-up disrespect for democracy that we witnessed during last week’s Capitol attacks.

During the attacks, cable ties and explosives were found, and a total of five people died.

When Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol last week, they used violence and intimidation tactics to peddle a blatantly false narrative that the election was somehow “stolen” from Trump, putting the safety of those who work in the building at risk, and demonstrating a clear disregard for the sanctity of the Capitol building and the democracy in which it stands to protect.

One of these things is not like the other.

But unfortunately, this comparison isn’t exactly unpredictable coming from McCormack.

It was just last year that he peddled the false narrative that Melbourne’s BLM protests were to blame for the coronavirus outbreak on national television.

“We have had that outbreak because of the security guards, who did the wrong thing. We had that outbreak because of a family who gathered in too large a number. We had the outbreak in Victoria because of a protest rally,” McCormack said on Q&A last year, before being promptly called out by host Hamish Macdonald.

McCormack has been Acting Prime Minister for one day and he is already beating around the bush on serious questions like whether or not Trump incited the violence we saw at the Capitol, but holds no reservations about spreading blatantly false information about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Considering the amount of right-wing extremism we’re already seeing pop up here in Australia, we need a leader that will actively condemn this sort of violent behaviour.

There is no ‘seeing both sides’ when it comes to the events that unfolded at Capitol Hill. You accept the standard you walk by, and Mr. McCormack – with all due respect – you have taken the coward’s way out of this one.

Image: Getty Images / Sam Mooy