In the wake of bombs sent to several prominent Democrats, conservative politicians and media outlets are emphasizing the need for civility—but failing to name figures who have legitimized political violence, notably President Donald Trump.
At a rally in Montana last Thursday, the president praised congressman Greg Gianforte, who had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault after body slamming a reporter for The Guardian. “Any guy who can do a body-slam,” Trump told the cheering crowd. “He’s my guy.” These words are part of a pattern of Trump inciting or praising violence against journalists and protestors.
The attempted bombings have targeted both politicians and political activists. To date, the list of intended targets include Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, former CIA Director John Brennan, billionaire donor George Soros, and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Speaking on Fox Business, host Stuart Varney linked the bombings to “toxic politics at its worst.” He added, “It bleeds over into absolute violence. And that’s absolutely wrong.” He didn’t specify a source of this “toxic” politics.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz tweeted:
This call for “civil” disagreement rings hollow considering that just the previous night he commented that his Democratic opponent for the U.S. Senate, Beto O’Rourke, should share “a double-occupancy cell with Hillary Clinton.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement saying, “We condemn the attempted violent attacks recently made against President Obama, President Clinton, Secretary Clinton and other public figures.” Yesterday, she had tweeted:
As with Cruz, Sanders might want to reflect on whether her words and those of her boss might have contributed to the toxic politics that are fueling political violence.