Misdirection — “the action or process of directing someone to the wrong place or in the wrong direction.”
That’s a pretty simply definition to understand, right? Maybe that’s why it’s so easy for House impeachment managers, like Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), to twist the words of others to serve their mission of removing a sitting president from office.
You might’ve noticed that both Schiff and Nadler used a quote by Alexander Hamilton from a 1792 note — not 1972 as their slide so inaccurately displayed — to our nation’s first president, George Washington.
Here’s the quote (the part in bold was left out by both Schiff and Nadler):
When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits — despotic in his ordinary demeanour — known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty — when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity — to join in the cry of danger to liberty — to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion — to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day — It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.
Schiff and Nadler used the quote above in order to prove their impeachment case by implying that the Founders warned about men like President Donald Trump.
Surprisingly, two left-leaning outlets both noted how the quote wasn’t originally in reference to impeachment, but a response to Wasghinton from Hamilton concerning taxes.
“…almost everyone who cited the Founding Father [Hamilton] got the context of what he said completely wrong,” wrote Paul Blumenthal of the Huffington Post (HuffPost).
Blumenthal continued later in the article:
The quote comes from a 10,000-plus word note Hamilton, then the secretary of the treasury, wrote in reply to a letter from President George Washington in 1792. Washington’s letter listed a series of “objections” he had heard from political friends and foes to Hamilton’s proposed plan to raise taxes on producers in order to finance bondholder debts held by wealthy financial investors. This was the nation’s earliest plan to redistribute wealth upwards and concentrate power among the rich.
Aaron Blake of The Washington Post (WaPo) noted a similar train of thought concerning the actual context of the Hamilton quote.
“He’s wrong that Hamilton offered it in the context of impeachment; it was from a note the then-treasury secretary wrote in response to Washington about tax policy, and the letter doesn’t even mention impeachment,” Blake wrote in response to a tweet by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) claiming that Hamilton was “arguing for including impeachment in the Constitution.” It was also from 1792, five years after the Constitution was drafted.”
They wouldn’t be the left if they weren’t proficient in revisionist history.