A congressman who survived an assassination attempt a little more than a year ago says it's time to tone down the violent rhetoric in the current political discourse – and it needs to come from one particular side of the aisle.
Last week two Republicans running for office in Minnesota were attacked while out in public. State Representative Sarah Anderson, who is running for reelection, was punched in the arm when she confronted someone destroying her yard signs; and Shane Mekeland, a House candidate for District 15B, was sucker-punched in the face while talking to potential voters in a restaurant. And on Friday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were accosted by protesters at a restaurant in Nashville, one of whom reportedly "slammed his fists down" on their table.
U.S. Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) says Democratic leaders need to put a stop to it.
"I would like to see leaders on both sides calling it out," he told Fox News. "You're seeing leaders on the Right calling it out, [but] you're not seeing any leaders on the Left calling it out. In fact, you're seeing some of the leaders on the Left inciting more violence."
He's referring to a few recent public statements by leading Democrats:
Perhaps the stage was set years earlier by a Democratic presidential candidate who in 2008 jokingly said of his political opponents:
Scalise said "there's no place" for this type of rhetoric in politics, yet "more and more of this [is coming] from the Left." He added: "When you see these kinds of things being said, it is inciting people – and frankly it's not the direction that we should be going."
He should know – that shooting at a baseball field in June 2017 by a Bernie Sanders supporter almost took Scalise's life.