Oct 30, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ronna McDaniel: "Unfair" to blame GOP rhetoric for Paul Pelosi attack

Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel pushed back against implications that Republican rhetoric helped fuel the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul, during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," saying such accusations were "unfair."

The big picture: Violence and threats of violence against lawmakers have surged in the past few years, as have threats against judges, election workers and federal law enforcement.

  • Attacks have targeted both Republicans and Democrats. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was shot in 2017 while practicing for the congressional baseball game.
  • Some Democrats have blamed the violent rhetoric used by some Republicans and GOP leaders' failure to check it for the attack, Politico reported.
  • "For many Democrats, the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband represents the all-but-inevitable conclusion of Republicans’ increasingly violent and threatening rhetoric toward their political opponents — a phenomenon that escalated under former president Donald Trump," read a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday.
  • The suspect in the attack on Paul Pelosi, David DePape, has a history of allegedly making racist remarks and rambling about QAnon conspiracy theories online, Axios' Herb Scribner writes.

What they're saying: “I think that's unfair. I think this is a deranged individual, you can't see people saying, ‘Let’s fire Pelosi’ or 'Let's take back the House' is saying 'Go do violence.' It's just unfair," McDaniel said when asked about the Post op-ed.

  • "Violence is up across the board. Lee Zeldin was attacked, we had [an] assassination attempt against Brett Kavanaugh, and Democrats didn't repudiate that. Joe Biden didn’t talk about the assassination attempt against Brett Kavanaugh."
  • At the time of the assassination attempt, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden "condemns the actions of this individual in the strongest terms,” Reuters reported.
  • "Of course, we wish Paul Pelosi a recovery. We don't like this at all across the board, we don't want to see attacks on any politician, from any political background," McDaniel said.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) condemned the attack on Paul Pelosi as "disgusting" during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

  • “This violence has got to stop. This is horrible. And my heart goes out to Paul Pelosi and I hope he has a full recovery.”
  • "We have to condemn the violence and we have to do everything we can to make sure people feel comfortable about these elections," Scott said when asked by host Dana Bash if Republicans need to be doing more to "reject conspiracy theories and dangerous rhetoric."
  • "My job is to do everything we can to get people comfortable that the elections are fair. I tell people, go out to vote, go be a poll watcher, and when we have the opportunity, let's make our election laws safer, let's make sure that you have voter ID, you don't have ballot harvesting, you have monitored ballot boxes."
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