Pelosi Blames Republicans for ‘Politics of Personal Destruction’ After Scalise Shooting


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) suggested during a press briefing on Thursday that the right is more to blame for politically motivated violence than the left.

Pelosi's comments came in the wake of Wednesday morning's shooting at a Republican congressional baseball team practice, which injured five people including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R., La.). The shooter was a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) who volunteered for his presidential campaign.

Following the shooting, the New York Times published a controversial op-ed, which argued that American political discourse had coarsened to the point of leading to violence. The op-ed originally made an unsubstantiated claim that a graphic circulated by a political action committee associated with Sarah Palin helped cause the 2011 shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.), before issuing a correction.

"This affliction, this coarsened political behavior. Do you see this as equally afflicting the left and the right?" a reporter asked Pelosi during the press conference.

"No, I do not," she responded.

Pelosi discussed threats that had been made against herself before claiming that Republicans were the ones responsible for the "politics of personal destruction" that led to the shooting of Scalise and others.

"It didn't use to be this way. Somewhere in the 90s, Republicans decided on a politics of personal destruction as they went after the Clintons, and that is the provenance of it, and that is what has continued," Pelosi said.

"When you have a president who says I could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and nobody would care. When you have people saying, beat 'em up and I'll pay your legal fees. When you have all the assaults that are made on Hillary Clinton. For them to be so sanctimonious is something that—," she said before cutting herself off.

Pelosi then said it was "not appropriate" to have such a discussion so soon after Wednesday's attack.

Charles Fain Lehman

Charles Fain Lehman   Email Charles | Full Bio | RSS
Charles Fain Lehman is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He writes about policy, covering crime, law, drugs, immigration, and social issues. Reach him on twitter (@CharlesFLehman) or by email at

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