Thomas Gallatin / January 14, 2021

Scalise, Victim of Violence, Speaks Against It

The House Republican leader echoed President Trump’s calls for peace.

President Donald Trump’s timely words calling for peace and calm in many ways mirrored the message from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA). On Tuesday, Scalise wrote an op-ed denouncing political violence. Having personally experienced political violence that nearly cost him his life, Scalise argued against the temptation to blame and vilify politicians for the violence perpetrated by unhinged individuals.

“The deranged shooter [who attacked me and other Republicans] was heavily influenced by the demonization of congressional Republicans by some Democratic politicians, whose statements were amplified by the mainstream media,” Scalise wrote. “In the aftermath of my shooting, I made a conscious decision not to hold anybody but the gunman responsible for that day’s events. It would, however, be naive to think the shooter arrived at his decision in a vacuum. It would be equally naive to think that the Capitol rioters arrived at their decisions in a void. Violent rhetoric helps radicalize people. Republicans and Democrats alike must have the moral clarity to call this language out whenever it is spoken, not only when it comes from the other side of the political aisle.”

Scalise powerfully added, “I reject the notion that Wednesday’s actions were a mostly peaceful protest or that antifa infiltrators led the mob into the Capitol. I also reject the notion that the mob’s actions accurately represent the motivations of the millions of Americans who voted for President Trump or the Republican Party. We have to be rational and honest while holding ourselves and others accountable.”

“I urge all Americans to resist throwing fuel on the fire,” he concluded. “Given practical considerations, I believe that both the impeachment process and calls to invoke the 25th Amendment represent just that — more fuel on this raging inferno. There will always be some who reject calls for unity and instead seek revenge. No good can come of that mind-set, trust me.”

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