Pelosi Blames Republicans for Inventing 'Politics of Personal Destruction'

By Gage Cohen | June 15, 2017 | 3:04 PM EDT

Rep. Nancy Pelosi

During House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) press briefing on Thursday, she called it "outrageous" that Republicans would point to vicious Democrat rhetoric when discussing Wedneday’s shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) in Alexandria, Virginia at a congressional baseball practice.

Pelosi called Republican comments suggesting that hateful liberal rhetoric incites violence “beneath the dignity of the job that they hold.”

And, when asked to “comment on the possibility that this incident [shooting] could be used against Democrats or the Democrat party, politically, because the assailant was apparently motivated by some kind of anti-Republican sentiment,” Pelosi responded with indignation:

“How dare they say such a thing; how dare they?"

“But the sanctimony of it all. Really, really? What do you think? Don’t you think it’s strange?  Don't you think it’s strange that, instead of praying - being prayerful about all of this - that they would start saying, “Let’s have this conversation another day, okay?’”

Pelosi went on to say that she did not believe the left and the right were equally to blame for vitriol and division that may have contributed to yesterday’s shooting – and claimed that Republicans had started it.

“Do you see this as equally afflicting the left and the right?” asked a reporter.

“No, I do not,” Pelosi replied.

Pelosi pointed to Republican politics surrounding President Bill Clinton in the ‘90s as the inception of today’s vile and vitriolic political discourse:

“Somewhere in the 90s the Republicans decided on a politics of personal destruction as they went after the Clintons, and that is the provenance of it, and that what’s continued."

Minority Leader Pelosi mentioned her own experience with personal attacks, negative messages, and phone calls that she has received, claiming that "nobody" gets more threats than she does:

There are varying degrees of, uh, threats. Nobody has as many as I do, or over time, just an incredible amount.”

Pelosi quoted President Trump when doling out responsibility for ending today’s negative political discourse”:

“We have a President who says, ‘I could shoot people on 5th Avenue and no one would care;’ when you have people saying, ‘Beat ‘em up and I'll pay your, uh, legal fees,’ when you have all the assaults that are made on Hillary Clinton.”

“Uh, for them to be so sanctimonious, is something that, I’m really, um, almost sad for myself that I’ve gone down this path with you because I don’t think it’s appropriate for us to have the fullest discussion of it and it will be for another day. It will be for another day.”

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