There is not doubt that the string of violent acts has cast a shadow over the final days before the midterm elections. This season has been marked by bitter partisan fighting, harsh rhetoric and controversial protests.
Last week began with the president’s claims at a rally in Houston that Democrats may be involved with the caravan of migrants, and it ended with arrests for mailed bombs to prominent Democrats and the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in our country’s history.
Both incidents were met with calls for unity from Democrats and Republicans alike, but neither party indicated they would give an inch in the debate over responsibility for the attacks.
Marc Hetherington, a professor of political science at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, said: “I don’t think anything’s going to cool tensions. This, on both sides, has the feel of the apocalypse if they lose.”
President Trump struck a unifying tone in the immediate aftermath of the attempted bombings, but he also questioned its timing.
“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this ‘Bomb’ stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows — news not talking about politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans go out and vote!” Trump tweeted on Friday.
Democrats have seized on both incidents to draw attention to the consequences of extreme rhetoric, invoking Trump in the process.
“Honestly, I think this president’s whole modus operandi is to divide us,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “He gets up in the morning with new and inventive ways to divide us. And it’s not enough that on the day of a tragedy he says the right words, if, every day of the year, he’s saying things to bring us into conflict with each other.”
Republicans have been quick to downplay the connection between the president’s over-the-top rhetoric and the men responsible for last week’s violence.
“Look, everyone has their own style, and frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong language about our political differences, but I just don’t think you can connect it to threats or acts of violence,” Vice President Pence told NBC News in an interview aired Sunday.
“And I don’t think the American people connect it,” Pence added. “The American people believe that those who are responsible are the people that actually conduct these threats.”
Credit: The Hill