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GOP Response to Paul Pelosi Attack is a Sadistic New Low

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tags: Republican Party, Paul Pelosi



It might seem late in the game to point to any one event as a final or conclusive moment in the decline of the Republican Party. And I have no doubt that if the GOP returns to power this winter, its worst members will find new ways to appall decent people while gamboling about in jester’s bells for its base. (As my Atlantic colleague Adam Serwer has put it so well, “The cruelty is the point.”) But the reaction among Republican elected officials and their conservative-media life-support system to the beating of Paul Pelosi—by a man named David DePape, who was charged with attempting to kidnap Speaker Nancy Pelosi and admitted to planning to torture her—feels different.

I am not alone; my friend Mona Charen, among others, also senses that this event marks a new level of depravity in the GOP. I have struggled for a few days to decide why, exactly, this moment seems like an inflection point. In terms of actual damage, January 6 was far worse than one violent crime in San Francisco. Republican leaders—and here I will leave aside Donald Trump, who is in a class of hideousness all by himself—have said far worse things over the past five years. But a parade of Republicans somehow think that an unhinged, hammer-wielding intruder putting an old man in the ICU is funny.

We might expect such inanity from pathetic attention hounds such as Donald Trump Jr. and the usual conservative troll-pundits. Some of them tried to get a rumor about Paul Pelosi trending and briefly succeeded, especially when Twitter’s new boss, Elon Musk, characteristically decided that he just had to get involved in something he knows nothing about and amplified a dodgy story about it on Twitter. (He later deleted the tweet.) GOP leaders, however, stayed silent.

But that didn’t stop people in both right-wing politics and media from laughing it up over the Pelosi attack, including the Arizona gubernatorial contender Kari Lake, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, and sitting Representative Clay Higgins. Others have joined in trying to obfuscate or deflect attention from the intent of the attack; Senator John Cornyn of Texas even lamely tried to raise immigration as an issue. (DePape is here on a long-expired visa from Canada.)

One might think that it would be easy for America, as one nation, to condemn an attempt to kidnap the woman second in line to the presidency that resulted in the beating of her husband with a hammer. As Ernest Hemingway would say: Pretty to think so. Instead, we have seen the dark heart of the Republican Party, with a reaction so callous, so flippantly sadistic, so hateful, that it all feels irredeemable.

Read entire article at The Atlantic

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