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Democrat makes headlines with relentless attack on Republican “cult”

A clip of Rep. Eric Swalwell accusing Republicans of being part of a “cult” for supporting former President Donald Trump went viral on social media Tuesday afternoon.

Swalwell, a California Democrat and frequent Trump critic, delivered a monologue attacking Republicans during a House Judiciary Committee hearing where members of Congress heard testimony from Attorney General Merrick Garland. Trump's legal battles were a point of contention during the hearing, as Republicans accused prosecutors of targeting the former president for political gain as part of his 2024 presidential campaign.

Last week, a New York jury found Trump guilty on 34 counts of falsifying business documents to cover up an alleged hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. The trial and verdict sparked outrage among conservatives.

During the hearing on Tuesday, Swalwell compared her defense of Trump despite the verdict to that of members of a cult.

Rep. Eric Swalwell speaks to reporters in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2023. Swalwell made headlines Tuesday for comparing followers of former President Donald Trump to cult members during a speech at a congressional hearing.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

“If you believe in states' rights except when a jury in that state convicts your presidential candidate, you may be a member of a cult. If you say you support the Democrats but want to defund the police when they go to your candidate's house to seize state secrets, you may be a member of a cult,” he said.

He went on to say that Republicans who support Trump despite being “convicted of a crime that bars him from traveling to several countries” “may belong to a cult” and listed the countries Trump may face a travel ban from due to his conviction.

A Republican congressman tried to interrupt the list by asking that his words be struck from the record, but Swalwell continued. Meanwhile, Congressman Jim Jordan slammed his gavel on the table and warned that Swalwell's time was up.

Worldwide, 38 countries, including the United States, have imposed travel restrictions on people convicted of a crime.

The video quickly spread across the social network X (formerly Twitter), garnering hundreds of thousands of views in less than an hour. In a post to X, Swalwell wrote: “It's a long list…”

He received praise from Democrats on social media.

“Swalwell wins and the damn hammer in the background is the chef's kiss,” wrote @JoJoFromJerr.

“MAGA Republicans are afraid of the facts,” wrote editor and animator Chris Strider.

However, conservatives criticized Swalwell for his speech.

“Eric Swalwell says Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee are 'part of a cult' because they believe the justice system is being used as a weapon against Trump, while flanked by a mask-wearing staffer in the fourth year of Covid,” posted conservative commentator @_johnnymaga.

After the verdict, Trump told reporters: “The real verdict will be made by the people on November 5th. And they know what happened here, and everybody knows what happened here. They have a Soros-backed prosecutor and the whole thing. We did nothing wrong. I'm a very innocent man. And it's OK, I'm fighting for our country. I'm fighting for our Constitution. Our whole country is being rigged right now.”

Newsweek has emailed Swalwell's office and Trump's campaign team for comment