In recent years, Resnick has drawn attention to fiery and violent comments – labeling African religions as “primitive” and suggesting that white supremacy is fictitious – and is a longtime vocal supporter of Donald Trump. Just days after Trump’s acquittal in his second indictment, Resnick landed an interview with former president’s attorney general David Schoen. And he defended the Capitol uprising on Jan. 6 in press without acknowledging his previously unreported presence in the building that day.
Resnick’s ultra-conservative policies are rare among the wider community of American Jews who are tilting overwhelmingly toward Democrats. But even among more conservative Orthodox Jews, his statement stands out under the banner of the six-decade-old Jewish press, whose website suggests it was “politically incorrect long before the phrase was invented.” Groups condemning his past rhetoric include the Anti-Defamation League, a common Jewish American institution.
It is unclear exactly what led Resnick to the Capitol on January 6, including whether he attended Trump’s “Stop the Steal” meeting earlier that day. Neither Resnick nor the Jewish Press has a hard-hitting passport to Congress, a requirement for journalists who regularly submit reports from the Capitol.
For the past two weeks, Resnick has been rejecting calls, emails and social media messages seeking comment. POLITICO also repeatedly reached out to the leaders of The Jewish Press, sending detailed lists of questions about Resnick’s presence that day and whether the paper had approved it. These queries remained unanswered until Monday night, when publisher Naomi Mauer released a response to a sentence.
“Since we understand the facts, we believe that Mr. Resnick acted within the law, ”Mauer said in an email. She declined to elaborate or respond to a further follow-up for more information.
Resnick has not been charged for his presence in the Capitol, and the video taken of him on January 6 does not show that he participates in or encourages violence.
Those who have called Resnick because of his previous comments, however, say his January 6 presence is remarkable.
“It does not speak to the whole Jewish community, but I think it speaks to the fact that even in marginalized societies in the United States [some members] will adopt and orientate toward an authoritarian-style policy, ”said Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, a civil rights group that tracks extremism.
“The good news is that it is not the majority in any of these communities. But it is not an aberration either, ”Ward added.
Investigators have arrested and charged more than 300 people for taking part in the assault on charges ranging from unauthorized entry to assaulting police officers to conspiracy to disrupt the certification of the 2020 election. And they have suggested that dozens, if not hundreds, are likely to be arrested when prosecutors fight through a massive body of evidence in what they say is the most complex case ever brought by the Justice Department.
POLITICO first became aware of Resnick’s presence in the Capitol by a researcher who has searched open source footage of the attack to identify participants. The researcher refused to be identified to this story to continue the work of identifying people present in the building on January 6th.
Prosecutors have relied on independent crowdsourcing to gather evidence against several Capitol defendants, citing some of this work in court cases. After receiving photos and footage of the Capitol crash that appeared to show Resnick’s presence, POLITICO confirmed his identity with several of his employees.
In particular, Resnick wrote an op-ed in the American thinker last month in which he defended the Capitol uprising as a natural response to Trump’s widely rejected and unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.
“Democrats continue to declare that this country can never again see its capital overtaken by a mob,” Resnick wrote. “Well, there’s an easy solution to that. Do not steal elections right away, and maybe law-abiding citizens do not usually click.”
Resnick did not mention in his column that he was inside the building that day. But the op-ed adapted to a series of social media posts he made at the time and in the weeks since. In a tweet that was time-stamped at. 17:37 on Jan. 6, Resnick responded to Trump ally Sara Carter’s tweet calling for calm in the midst of the Capitol uprising.
“Please explain how you plan to ensure Democrats do not cheat four years from now,” Resnick wrote.
He posted similar comments to Parler in the ensuing days, raising questions about a police officer’s decision to fire the shot that killed rioters Ashli Babbitt as she sought to enter the house. On January 8, he suggested that a clip of a local TV interview with a witness to Babbitt’s recording go viral.
Several alleged insurgents facing charges of entering the Capitol have claimed they were there as journalists and captured the day’s events. But prosecutors in some of these cases have pointed to evidence that the accused individuals caused or encouraged some of the chaos that unfolded inside the Capitol, and they have described careful monitoring of cell phone recordings to identify which people inside the Capitol were not authorized to Be there.
For example, Anthime Gionet, an all-right figure known as Baked Alaska, has claimed he entered the Capitol in a journalistic capacity. He faces charges of trespassing on the building when prosecutors say he donated an officer who sought to force his exit. In a lawsuit last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington DC disputed Gionet’s claim that he was in the Capitol as a journalist.
The most serious charges filed in the wake of Jan. 6 have been against members of groups such as the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys, paramilitary organizations, which prosecutors say have carried out plans to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory .
Among those not affiliated with the groups was an accident between white supremacy, QAnon conspiracy theorists, and many who simply said they believed Trump’s warnings that the election was stolen and that they needed to “stop the theft.”
One arrested, Robert Packer, was photographed wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” shirt. Another, Timothy Hale-Cusanelli, was ordered detained pending trial because of his increasingly violent rhetoric that supported white supremacist views. Hale-Cusanelli, an Army reservist who worked at a naval base in New Jersey, was seen by a significant majority of colleagues as an outspoken racist and anti-Semite, according to interviews by Navy investigators.
Ward said the Jewish Press should clarify whether Resnick was in the Capitol on behalf of the publication on January 6th.
“Where he works as a journalist is not willing to be aware of whether he was there in the role of journalist or in the role of a private citizen,” Ward said. “The cause that is worrying is that we are in a time when journalists have had increasing attacks from political movements … It is critically important to maintain the independence of journalists. “
During Resnick’s long February interview with Trump’s leading lawyer, David Schoen – held days after the Senate acquitted the former president of inciting the January 6 attack – the two also discussed the broader issue of Jewish Trump supporters facing blowback from their faith community.
Schoen told Resnick about his decision to join the defense team and described the background to his request to suspend the trial against the Jewish Sabbath. The proposal won the support of the Senate’s first Jewish majority leader, Chuck Schumer, but which Schoen later repealed and agreed to hand over duties to his co-advisers.
“What do you say to people who hate Trump and think a Jew should not defend someone they think is a terrible man?” Asked Resnick Schoen.
“I think that’s a terrible attitude,” Schoen replied. “I stood up for the Constitution and the President, and I was honored to do so. And the idea that you should somehow be embarrassed to be Jewish and do it – I do not understand. ”