In the wake of an attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) husband by an alleged assailant who regularly posted right-wing conspiracy theories online, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) has rebuked Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) for his relative silence on the issue.
On Twitter on Saturday morning, Ocasio-Cortez pointed out that McCarthy had not yet commented on the attack that took place the day before, and noted that he has a history of defending violent threats when they are directed at his political enemies.
“Last year, a GOP Congressman shared a depiction of himself killing me,” Ocasio-Cortez said, referring to an incident last year when Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Arizona) posted an animated video on Twitter depicting him killing Ocasio-Cortez. “When the House rose to censure, [McCarthy] defended him.”
“Yesterday, a man sharing that member’s rhetoric tried to assassinate the Speaker and her spouse,” Ocasio-Cortez continued. “What has [Mccarthy] said? Nothing. This is who he is.”
The man who allegedly attacked Paul Pelosi in the couple’s San Francisco home on Friday has posted about the 2020 election being stolen and other debunked conspiracy theories surrounding the pandemic, QAnon and supposed “grooming” from the LGBTQ community.
McCarthy has yet to make a formal public statement on the attack, remaining silent on his Twitter account and failing to publish any press releases on the matter. He did downplay the attack on far right outlet Breitbart on Saturday, however.
After Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet on Saturday morning, McCarthy said that the attack was “wrong” but quickly brought up threats that have been waged against Republicans and far right Supreme Court justices — a clear attempt to make it seem as though left-wingers are just as violent as right-wingers, which data has shown is blatantly untrue.
Ocasio-Cortez highlighted in a separate tweet on Saturday morning that there is a vast discrepancy between the way Democrats and progressive politicians versus right-wing politicians respond to political violence.
Attaching a video from 2019 when white nationalist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), then not an elected official, harassed Ocasio-Cortez and her staffers at Ocasio-Cortez’s office in the Capitol, Ocasio-Cortez wrote, “Reminder: This is who the Republican Party elects and elevates to positions of power. This is how they act in the halls of Congress, and this [is] the example they set for acolytes to follow.”
“These people want media to [claim there is] ‘both sides’ fascism. Don’t fall for it,” she continued. “For full context, one of Greene’s companions in that video was part of the violent mob on January 6th — in case there was any doubt at all about how closely these fascists work with one another. Do not give them an inch.”
McCarthy himself has privately admitted that he feared the most extreme right-wingers in his party would incite violence against other members of Congress in the wake of the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol — but he still hasn’t renounced the violence of the Donald Trump militants who breached the Capitol that day.
Violence and threats from the right wing are on the rise; threats against Pelosi in particular have been common among the right for many years. Over the past year, federal agencies have tracked a sharp uptick in political violence, the vast majority of which comes from the right.
Republicans have repeatedly refused to condemn this violence — and in some cases, they have also celebrated it. For instance, they have uplifted Kyle Rittenhouse, the man who traveled across state lines and shot three people, killing two of them, who were participating in protests for the Movement for Black Lives in 2020; after his trial last year, Republican politicians floated the idea of hiring Rittenhouse as an intern and he was given a speaking slot at a prominent conservative conference.