Pennsylvania Democratic congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan has attributed her past electoral success to her focus on "civility" and "unity." Now, she says the Republican Party is "diseased" and must be "cleansed."
Houlahan's comments came during a May 27 appearance on the Daily Beast's The New Abnormal podcast, which saw the congresswoman disparage Republicans as deplorable and anti-democratic.
"This is, in my opinion, a diseased Republican Party. And it needs to be cured and cleansed," Houlahan said. "So the stakes of having a Republican, as an example, in my seat are more than just policy differences. They are democracy, in my opinion."
Houlahan's rhetoric is a far cry from 2020, when the Democrat credited her political success to her message of "civility," "decency," "unity," and "empathy." "People ask me constantly how I flipped a seat in a competitive district. One of the reasons is that I made civility and decency a core of my campaign," Houlahan said at the time. "Pennsylvanians want unity. They want leaders who rise above the fray and lead with kindness and empathy towards all Americans."
If Houlahan's assessment is correct, the congresswoman could very well see her seat flip back to red come November. With Democrats in control of the House, Senate, and White House, Pennsylvanians have experienced record-high inflation and gas prices—on Wednesday, the average cost of a gallon of gas in the Keystone State hit $5.03, an all-time record. Those issues have tanked President Joe Biden's standing in Pennsylvania, a state the Democrat narrowly won in 2020. Just 35 percent of voters in the state approve of Biden, while 54 percent disapprove, according to Civiqs.
Houlahan's campaign did not return a request for comment. The Democrat's decision to abandon her message of unity in favor of more inflammatory rhetoric toward Republicans closely resembles Biden's track record. After promising "unity" on the 2020 campaign trail, the president went on to equate Republican senators to segregationists during a January speech, a move that drew criticism from some fellow Democrats. Biden has since centered his midterm election strategy on labeling Republicans "ultra MAGA," a term that reflects the GOP's "extremism," according to the White House.
"Civility and decency are solely needed to heal this country. Biden has that," Houlahan said before the 2020 election. Just one year prior, the congresswoman compared President Donald Trump to a terrorist.
Prior to joining Congress in 2019, Houlahan served as COO at sportswear company AND1, a position her campaign site touts. During her time at AND1, the company was implicated in a National Labor Committee watchdog report that accused AND1 of working with Chinese "sweatshops" where workers are "in a trap" and "stripped of their rights."
Houlahan ran unopposed in Pennsylvania's Sixth Congressional District Democratic primary and will face former Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry president Guy Ciarrocchi in November.