Toxic rhetoric on the Left laid the foundation for the shooting that critically wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others at a practice of the congressional Republican baseball team, a former federal prosecutor said Thursday.
Joseph diGenova, who served as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia in the 1980s, said on “The Laura Ingraham Show” that it’s necessary to cause political consequences for leaders who have pushed hateful rhetoric against Republicans.
“What happened yesterday was not an accident,” he said. “It was the direct result of incitement to violence by the leadership of the Democratic Party.”
DiGenova called out House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) by name.
“Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, the members of the Democratic Left have invited violence with their rhetoric. They are directly responsible for the shooting that occurred yesterday,” he said. “Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi have blood on their hands.”
Scalise remained in critical condition on Thursday. Capitol police officers who were assigned to protect him fatally shot the assailant, progressive activist James T. Hodgkinson.
Disagreement over policy is fine, diGenova said. But he accused Democrats of taking opposition to an unhealthy level. And he made clear he does not just mean politicians. He lumped in entertainment figures, such as comedian Kathy Griffin — who held up a fake image of Trump’s severed head — and CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, who urged people to see a play depicting Trump in the role of Julius Caesar, who is assassinated.
“Whatever you think of Donald Trump — whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat — to threaten his family, his children, his wife, him, is the kind of violence that is absolutely inherent in every type of criticism that has been hurled at him,” he said.
DiGenova used the term “blood on their hands” several times during the interview.
“I have never been so angry as I have been in the last 24 hours,” he said.
DiGenova also blasted leaks to The Washington Post indicating that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the president for possible obstruction of justice over his firing of FBI Director James Comey. He called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to move swiftly.
“There are career people at the U.S. Department of Justice who are involved in the leaking,” he said. “And I expect the attorney general and [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein to do something about it. We shall see.”