The GOP’s divided response to the attack on Paul Pelosi ranges from sincerity to mockery

A wide range of reactions from the Democratic Party to the violent attack on the husband of President Nancy Pelosi at their home shows the deep fractures that remain throughout the Republican Party.

Adding to the complexity of the matter are new reports suggesting that the suspect involved in the attack was a follower of right-wing conspiracy theories, leading many who propagate and embrace such fancies to dismiss the incident as a hoax or “false flag” event.

In Washington, congressional leaders responded with the typical shock and outrage one would expect members of the House and Senate to show after a violent attack that clearly targeted one of their own.

“Horrified and disgusted by reports that Paul Pelosi was attacked at his and Speaker Pelosi’s home last night,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote Friday. “Thankful to hear that Paul is on track for a full recovery and that law enforcement, including the stellar Capitol Police, is on the case.”

And in the House, GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy addressed the issue during an interview with a right-wing blog Breitbart — though only after criticism that he didn’t do so publicly.

“We’ve watched it with Lee Zeldin, we’ve watched it with the Supreme Court justices, this is wrong — violence should not go away. You are watching what happened to Steve Scalise and others. This has to stop,” he added, referring to two incidents in which GOP politicians have been attacked, including the 2017 congressional baseball game shooting.

But the GOP leadership in Congress is where the respectful responses began and ended. Former President Donald Trump, widely seen as the party’s de facto leader, has said nothing about the attack either through statements by Truth Social or those released through the Save America PAC. Many other GOP politicians on Capitol Hill followed suit, particularly those on the far right, with the notable exceptions of the two Republicans serving on the January 6 committee.

“The reports of the brutal attack on Paul Pelosi are appalling and deeply disturbing. My family and I are praying for his recovery,” Rep. Liz Cheney wrote.

And her colleague, Adam Kinzinger, called it “disgusting” during an interview with CNN:

While the pair were able to invoke the connection between the attack and the conspiracy theories that have infected mainstream politics on the American right, others in their party sought to downplay those connections — or, in the case of GOP Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, to ignore them entirely.

“You can not tell [that] people who say ‘let’s impeach Pelosi’ or say ‘let’s take back the House’ are saying ‘go do violence,'” he argued on Fox News.

Her comments ignore reality: A member of her own party, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, remains ostracized by committee members for her past comments advocating violence against Ms. Pelosi personally. In one example, the Georgia congresswoman liked a Facebook reply in July 2019 from a person who quipped that a “bullet in the head” would be an acceptable way to remove the Democratic Speaker of the House from office. The congresswoman claimed her page at the time was controlled by aides who sometimes “liked” content that did not reflect her views.

Ms. Green herself said she was “praying” for Mr. Pelosi but faced accusations of dishonesty.

Senator Rand Paul was somewhat respectful in his statement, taking the opportunity to chastise Ms. Pelosi’s daughter for tweeting approvingly after being attacked by a neighbor.

“No one deserves to be attacked. Unlike Nancy Pelosi’s daughter who celebrated my attack, I condemn this attack and wish Mr. Pelosi a speedy recovery,” he tweeted.

Outside Congress, the barriers of civility quickly evaporated.

The clearest example came from Wendy Rogers, a state senator from Arizona, who mockingly tweeted an image of a bloody hammer and a fake Amazon post implying the attack was a hoax.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngin also came under fire after a condemnation of an attack on a House candidate’s rally turned into a political attack aimed at the President.

“Speaker Pelosi’s husband had a burglary last night at their home and was assaulted. There is no place for violence anywhere, but we will send her back to be with him in California. That’s what we’re going to do,” he told the crowd.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *