Steve Scalise: Politicians, media must condemn political violence ‘across the board’, not when convenient

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U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise called on elected officials and the media to condemn violence and violent rhetoric “across the board” in extensive comments on last week’s rioting at the U.S. Capitol.

The Louisiana Republican, and survivor of a 2017 politically-motivated shooting, condemned the “domestic terrorism” that unfolded in the nation’s capital in a Twitter thread that called out Democrats for their double standards. Scalise’s tweets followed his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday in which he urged everyone to “tone down their rhetoric.”

“This is the second time in three years I have seen political violence firsthand. Republicans and Democrats alike must have the moral clarity to call out violent rhetoric whenever it’s spoken, not just when it’s politically convenient,” Scalise wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

“I am still outraged by the domestic terrorism we saw at the Capitol last week, and I condemned it immediately,” the No. 2 House Republican added.

(Image: C-SPAN screenshot)

“Many Democrats who were rightfully quick to condemn last week’s events were noticeably silent over the summer as Americans watched cities go up in flames,” Scalise continued.

“Elected officials and the media have a responsibility to condemn political violence and violent rhetoric across the board. Selectively condemning it sends a message that cruelty and destruction in the name of political agendas will be celebrated. We must end this dangerous idea,” he wrote.

“Both the politically-motivated gunman who shot me on a baseball field and the anarchists who rioted at the Capitol were radicalized by extreme rhetoric,” the lawmaker contended. “It would be naive to think that either of these actions occurred in a vacuum.”

Scalise went on to reject claims that “antifa led the mob into the Capitol” or that their actions are representative of millions of President Donald Trump’s supporters. The lawmaker voted to object to the electors from several states during last week’s certification of the Electoral College results.

“America settles its differences through debate and democracy, not mob rule and violence,” the minority whip concluded. “Republicans and Democrats must come together and resist the urge to throw fuel on the fire.”

Democrats were quick to lay the blame for last week’s violence on Trump and some Republicans have followed suit. Six GOP members of the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, introduced a resolution on Tuesday to censure the president for “attempting to unlawfully overturn the 2020 Presidential election and for violating his oath of office.”

The House is set to vote later this week on a single Article of Impeachment against Trump, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY., reportedly may support. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made it clear he does not support impeaching Trump but noted Monday in a letter to Republican colleagues that some GOP members were in favor of censure.

Scalise, who nearly lost his life in 2017 when he was shot and seriously injured by a left-wing activist,  pointed to a “powder keg” that has been brewing for some time in his Wall Street Journal opinion piece.

“What happened last Wednesday went well beyond any candidate’s legal right to contest an election and is another glaring sign that public discourse has gotten out of control,” he wrote.

“With only days to go until President-elect Biden’s Inauguration, our national temperature is far too high. A powder keg had been smoldering long before Wednesday’s events,” he added. “For the sake of our country, politicians and media figures—of both parties—have to tone down their rhetoric.”

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Frieda Powers

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