Rep. Tom Emmer: ‘There’s No Place for Violence, Period, in Our Society’

Melanie Arter | October 31, 2022 | 11:23am EDT
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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R) attends a mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul led by the pope on June 29, 2022 at St Peter's basilica (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (R) attends a mass for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul led by the pope on June 29, 2022 at St Peter's basilica (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

( – Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that there is no place for violence in society.

When asked how concerned he is about the risk of political violence and how it should be minimized, Emmer said, “There's no place for violence, period, in our society, physical violence or violence against someone's property.

“I think you've already covered that here this morning. The incident in San Francisco, tragic as it is, I think we need some more information about it, but we should all be feeling for Paul Pelosi and his family. Hopefully, there will be a 100 percent recovery,” he said.

When asked if he denounces the attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Emmer said, “Absolutely. There should be no attacks, period. There should be no violence in our society, again, whether it's political or otherwise. There's no place for it in a civilized society.

Asked whether he would urge private citizens not to patrol polling places, Emmer said, “Well, you picked the words, Margaret. I would say that it is Republicans, Democrats, independents. All American citizens are very acutely aware, as your previous guest just mentioned, about our election process. I think this is going to be a very good election, because people are awake. They're paying attention.

“They should volunteer as poll watchers. It's a state-based system. Whatever your state requires and allows, you should definitely be involved, and I think it's going to help the process,” the congressman said.

When asked to clarify whether poll watching is different than voter intimidation, which is unlawful, Emmer said, “Nobody should be intimidated when they're exercising their most precious right to vote.”

BRENNAN: So, when you see video, as we have seen in a place like in Arizona, where you see individuals with tactical gear, where you see individuals with weapons outside drop boxes, where -- how do you classify that?

EMMER: Again, no one should feel intimidated when they're exercising their right to vote.

BRENNAN: That is intimidating?

EMMER: You've got -- you've got stories on both sides of the aisle. You have got stories in many different states about how people have felt as though their right was infringed on. I think cooler heads need to prevail.

I really think we're going to have a good election. I think you've got 15-million plus that have already participated in early voting across this country. I think you're going to have a big turnout in nine days from now on the election. And I think, again, Republicans, Democrats and others are well aware of the issues that we had during COVID.

People were stepping up and trying to do things to make sure we were protected and safe, but they were adjusting election laws on the fly. I think a lot of that has been resolved. I think you're going to see a really good experience in nine days.

BRENNAN: OK. So you would urge citizens not to patrol polling places?

EMMER: Again, I urge everyone, get involved. Whatever your state allows, get involved. Volunteer.

BRENNAN: I need...

EMMER: Exactly what your, your previous guest said.

BRENNAN: Because I want to ask..

EMMER: Be part of the process

Brennan asked Emmer about a video he posted on Twitter that encouraged voters to “fire Pelosi.”

“I want to ask you about this when it comes to political violence. On your Twitter feed, you posted this video we're going to show just a few days ago where you're firing a gun, and it says: ‘Enjoyed exercising my Second Amendment rights. #FirePelosi.’ Why is there a gun in a political ad at all?” she asked.

EMMER: It wasn't an ad. I was -- I was tweeting out -- I was tweeting out something that I had just done.

BRENNAN: Hashtag -- or a tweet -- hashtag #FirePelosi, with a weapon.

EMMER: Well, now you're...

BRENNAN: Wouldn't a pink slip be more fitting, if it's about firing her?

EMMER: It's interesting, Margaret.

BRENNAN: Why a gun?

EMMER: It's interesting, Margaret, that we're talking about this, this morning, when, a couple of years back, when a Bernie Sanders supporter shot Steve Scalise...

BRENNAN: Which was horrendous and horrific...

EMMER: ... when a Bernie Sanders supporter...

BRENNAN: ... which is why we should be not...

EMMER: ... shot Steve Scalise...

BRENNAN: ... be putting weapons...

EMMER: ... I never heard you or anyone else in the media trying to blame Democrats for what happened. We need to stay focused on what we're all doing...

BRENNAN: We did extensive coverage of what happened to Steve Scalise.

EMMER: Excuse me?

BRENNAN: There was extensive coverage, sir.

EMMER: But nobody tried to equate Democrats' rhetoric, people that say...

BRENNAN: I'm not talking about your rhetoric. I'm talking about what you posted.

EMMER: It's the same.

BRENNAN: You're shooting a gun. Our viewers just saw it.

EMMER: Yeah, right.

BRENNAN: Hashtag #FirePelosi.

EMMER: Exercising our Second Amendment rights, having fun...

BRENNAN: That's not a debate about the Second Amendment.

EMMER: ... shooting a gun. Yeah.

BRENNAN: That's not a debate about the Second Amendment.

EMMER: Yes, it is.

BRENNAN: Hashtag #FirePelosi.

EMMER: Yes, it is. I -- I'm running the campaign operation.

BRENNAN: Do you not understand that that is suggestive to people who are in a bad state, and, in this current
environment, how risky it is? As you're talking about...

EMMER: Well, I disagree, Margaret.

BRENNAN: ... the importance of lowering the rhetoric...

EMMER: I disagree with you.

BRENNAN: ... why do you leave that up?

EMMER: Again, I never saw anyone after Steve Scalise was shot by a...

BRENNAN: I'm talking about right now...

EMMER: ... Bernie Sanders supporter...

BRENNAN: ... what just is happening right now.

EMMER: .. trying to equate -- equate Democrat rhetoric with those actions. Please don't do that.

BRENNAN: OK. Looking at your candidates, Republican candidates have spent more than $116 million on ads that mentioned Speaker Pelosi by name in their cycle. If this is about the issues, why shouldn't make it about the issues? Why not depersonalize it?

EMMER: It is absolutely about the issues. It's about the fact that we have double-digit inflation...

BRENNAN: You don't think...

EMMER: ... exploding -- exploding cost of living. We've got a crime wave across this country that is a direct result -- is the direct result...

BRENNAN: In this moment -- we are eight days out -- don't you think this needs to change?

EMMER: Again...

BRENNAN: Why not pull some of these ads? Why not just delete your tweet?

EMMER: Well, I'm sure -- I'm sure people would like to talk about anything but what the Democrats have done to this country, which, quite frankly, is exploding cost of living, a crime wave in our major cities that is the result of this defund the police nonsense and cashless bail.

I mean, you look at New York City, where you put someone in jail at 9:00 p.m. for assaulting someone on the street and they're back out on the street at 9:00 a.m. committing crimes again. 

You look at my state of Minnesota, Minneapolis, it's had 6,000 assaults since the beginning of the year, Margaret. Those are the issues that are top of mind for every voter in this country.

That's why they're going to show up in -- on the -- on November 8, a and that's why Republicans are going to win in the midterms.

BRENNAN: That's what our projections are showing, but I would suggest more pink slips, fewer weapons in our ads in this environment.

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