It stood to reason that some on the right would be critical of Derek Chauvin's conviction in Minnesota this week, but I didn't fully expect so many conservatives to slam the members of the jury in his case.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported yesterday, for example:
Gov. Ron DeSantis implied that the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial could have happened because "the jury is scared of what a mob may do."
The Florida Republican appeared on Fox News the night of the verdict and heard Laura Ingraham raise the prospect of jurors voting guilty because of fear of possible violence.
Though the governor said on the air that he wasn't explicitly saying jurors were definitely swayed by public-safety fears, DeSantis also said, "[I]f that's what a lot of people think, and I don't know what happened with this verdict, but if that's something that can potentially happen, where you basically have justice made meted out because the jury is scared of what a mob may do?"
Others on the right were even less subtle. Trump campaign lawyer Jenna Ellis argued, for example, that jurors must've been "influenced" by leftist "social-justice warriors." Soon after, Tucker Carlson added, "The jury in the Derek Chauvin trial came to a unanimous and unequivocal verdict this afternoon: 'Please don't hurt us.'"
Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase, a leading Republican candidate for governor this year, said the guilty verdict made her "sick," adding that she believes the jurors in the case didn't acquit the murder because they feared a violent backlash.
In other words, after a year of national and international scrutiny into George Floyd's death, many on the right have settled on a new culprit worthy of their scorn: members of a jury in Hennepin County, Minn., whom some conservatives perceive as cowards.
It's an argument predicated on the idea that the evidence was on Chauvin's side -- reality notwithstanding -- and those rascally jurors put the facts aside in order to prevent social unrest.
The idea that the jurors did their duty, honored their oaths, evaluated the case on the merits, and rendered a fair judgment based on the evidence and the law is apparently too fanciful for some on the right to believe.
But for the American mainstream, it seems far more reasonable to express gratitude to the jurors for their willingness to do their duty under difficult circumstances.