Republicans condemn Paul Pelosi attack but aren’t shy about blaming ‘both sides’


Several Republicans on Sunday tempered their denunciations of an attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), blaming “both sides” of the aisle for the political violence.

While many GOP politicians have condemned the attack, former President Donald Trump has so far remained silent.

Paul Pelosi, 82, was continuing to recover from his injuries, Nancy Pelosi said in a letter on Saturday evening, following surgery for a fractured skull and other injuries from a early Friday attack. San Francisco police have identified the attack suspect as David DePape, 42, who appears to have been deeply embroiled in election liespolitical conspiracy theories like QAnon and fringe rants from various right-wing sites.

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee, called the attack on Paul Pelosi “disgusting.”

He then moved the discussion to reports that Republicans have also been vulnerable to politically motivated attacks.

“We had a door knocker in Florida that was attacked,” he said, referring to a recent attack on a Republican canvasser that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) alleged was politically motivated. Police did not substantiate this claim. “I mean, this thing has to stop.”

Asked if Republicans should do more to dismiss the conspiracy theories and dangerous rhetoric that fuel such attacks, Scott said the focus should be on condemning violent attacks and ensuring the election integrity.

On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” host Margaret Brennan asked Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.) about his Twitter post last week a video of him firing a gun at a shooting range with the hashtag #FirePelosi.

Emmer, who is chairman of the Republican National Congressional Committee, defended the imagery, saying it was touting the Second Amendment rather than promoting violence.

He also started arguing again on both sides when asked about armed people in Arizona stake out the ballot boxes.

“Again, no one should feel intimidated when exercising their right to vote, Emma said. “You have stories on both sides of the aisle. You get stories from many different states about how people felt like their right had been violated.

Emmer also touched on the 2017 shooting of House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) “by a Bernie Sanders supporter,” telling Brennan he “never heard from you or anyone else in the media. , trying to blame the Democrats for what happened.”

At the time, Nancy Pelosi condemned the “despicable and cowardly attack” that took place during practice for the annual Congressional baseball game. “On days like today, there are no Democrats or Republicans, only Americans are united in our hopes and prayers for the injured,” Pelosi said. then say.

On Oct. 28, San Francisco police said they arrested David DePape, 42, as a suspect in an attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. (Video: The Washington Post)

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California) wrote on Twitter that the Facebook page of the suspect in the Paul Pelosi attack “appears identical” to those of Trump, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Col.).

“We have to draw the straight lines that connect violent political rhetoric and violent acts,” Swalwell said. tweeted Saturday night. “All three glorified violence and [DePape] acted accordingly.

The Washington Post confirmed that a voluminous blog written under the name DePape was filled with deeply anti-Semitic writings and baseless claims as well as pro-Donald Trump and anti-Democrat messaging. It was recorded at a home in Richmond, Calif., where DePape lives, according to neighbors.

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, said Sunday it was “unfair” for Democrats to link Republicans’ inflammatory rhetoric toward their political opponents to the attack on Paul Pelosi.

“I think he’s a deranged individual,” McDaniel said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You can’t say that people who say ‘let’s fire Pelosi’ or ‘let’s take back the house’ are saying ‘go and do violence’. It’s just unfair. And I think we all have to recognize that violence is widespread.

McDaniel quoted a July attack on New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin at a campaign event, and also falsely claimed that President Biden “did not speak about the assassination attempt on” Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, who Biden condemned.

“But, of course, we wish Paul Pelosi a recovery,” McDaniel added. “We don’t like it at all overall. We don’t want to see attacks on a politician of any political background. »

When asked if there was a connection between rising political violence and Trump’s rhetoric, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (right) said there was “a connection with everyone in all of this.”

“Look, it’s not just about former President Trump,” he said. “I mean, people get upset about inflation. They get upset, you know, with issues that have happened at what we would consider a very minor level, but for them it’s passionate, this is the end.

Elon Musk and right-wing figures spread misinformation about Pelosi attack

Several lawmakers also used the latest attack to push for better security measures. Top House and Senate leaders have protection details, but that protection does not extend to their families.

Changes to this legislation should be “strongly considered,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” noting that many members of Congress beyond the “top four” are receiving threats.

Klobuchar also criticized social media companies for making money by allowing election lies and hate speech to proliferate. His remarks came shortly after Elon Musk, who just acquired Twitter last week, amplified a conspiracy theory about Paul Pelosi’s attack on the platform he now owns. Several hours later, Musk deleted the tweet.

“I think it’s really important for people to realize that it’s not just this moment of this horrific attack, but that we’ve seen the violence perpetrated throughout our political system,” Klobuchar said. “This must stop. And there are a number of things we can do from a security standpoint… but it’s also about making sure that we don’t add more deniers to our political system.

Pelosi, who has vehemently denounced political violence in the past, including the January 6, 2021, uprising at the United States Capitol, has so far not linked politics to the attack on her husband.

In a letter from Dear Colleague to members of Congress late Saturday night, Nancy Pelosi confirmed that “a violent man broke into our family home, demanded to confront me, and brutally attacked my husband Paul.”

“Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the potentially deadly attack on our Pop,” she wrote. “Know that the outpouring of prayers and warm wishes from so many members of Congress is a comfort to our family and helps Paul move forward in his recovery. His condition continues to improve. »

Stephanie McCrummen, Laurie McGinley, Kim Bellware and Paul Kane contributed to this report.

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