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‘Politics Has No Place For Violence’: Steve Scalise Slams Capitol Attacks In WSJ Essay
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., talks with reporters
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Republican Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who was wounded in a politically motivated mass shooting in 2017, penned an essay in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, decrying last week’s attack on the United States Capitol and pleading with his colleagues to tone down the harsh, partisan rhetoric that foments hatred.

Scalise was grievously wounded in a mass shooting in 2017 as he and other Congressional Republicans were holding an early morning practice for the annual Congressional baseball game. Scalise sustained a gunshot wound to his hip that “traveled across his pelvis, fracturing bones, injuring internal organs, and causing severe bleeding,” according to a press release from Scalise’s medical team.

The Louisiana Republican drew on his experience with that mass shooter, who was reportedly a former volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential campaign who had been radicalized against Republicans to address the attack on the United States Capitol that took place last week following a rally for supporters of President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the November presidential election.

“’m still angry after last week’s events at the Capitol. I mourn for Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries inflicted by rioters, and worry about the morale and safety of his fellow officers,” Scalise wrote, addressing his remarks directly to the president. “My concerns continue for the safety of my colleagues, staff, and members of the press who work in Washington. President Trump should have denounced the attack unequivocally as it was taking place.”

“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 continued. “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. For the sake of our country, politicians and media figures—of both parties—have to tone down their rhetoric.”

Scalise then turned to his Democratic colleagues — and even left-leaning commentators like Chris Cuomo — whom he noted, failed to address the rising tide of political violence over the summer, even as a number of major American cities tangled with destructive riots that resulted in billions of dollars in property damage.

“Many Democrats who were rightfully quick to join us in condemning last week’s events at the Capitol were noticeably silent over the summer. In those months, Americans watched looters ransack small businesses while cities went up in flames. Radical progressives attacked police precincts and federal courthouses, and leftist protesters clashed repeatedly with police,” Scalise said. In Minneapolis, Kenosha, Wis., Seattle’s ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,’ the District of Columbia, and other cities, many elected officials outright enabled a cruel disregard for life, property, and the rule of law in the name of social justice. Many in the media cheered the violence.”

Scalise is one of a handful of Congressional Republicans who have made clear their feelings on last week’s attack, refusing to call the violent riot a “peaceful protest,” or insist that the mob that stormed the Capitol was somehow Antifa in disguise. He called on his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to be honest and forthright about the incident and to pledge to do their part to prevent a repeat incident.

“Elected officials and media personalities have a responsibility to condemn political violence and violent rhetoric across the board, not only when it’s politically convenient,” Scalise continued, noting that both Republicans and Democrats should heed his call.

“Unity and accountability are compatible. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to settle political scores of the past. Republicans have a responsibility to put our house in order and focus on ensuring a smooth transition of power. Democrats have that responsibility too. I am committed to pursuing these dual goals, and I invite everyone who cares about America’s greatness to join me in learning from the mistakes of the past while building a brighter tomorrow,” he said.

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