House Democrat wants GOP apology for threats and violence
House Democrat Barney Frank says Republican leaders should apologize for threats and vandalism against Democrats who’ve had the temerity to back President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda.
Why? The Massachusetts Democrat says Republicans have actually been cheering on the bad behavior. And, he adds, recent Republican condemnations have not gone far enough.
“I’m glad that my Republican leadership colleagues now have decided to denounce it. But they’ve been very late to do that. Over the weekend, they were much more egging on this kind of behavior than denouncing it,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America. “I think there ought to be some apologies.”
First, there was House Republican leader John Boehner’s castigating remark last week about the “punk staffers” who are working on Democratic financial reform legislation. Frank believes that comment was the starting gun for increasingly aggressive rhetoric by Republicans and their supporters.
Then there were the folks in the House balcony on Sunday who disrupted the healthcare proceedings with shouts that prompted security officers to act.
“Republicans were standing on their feet, cheering them on, urging them physically to resist the officials,” Frank told ABC. “To undo that, I think they should apologize.”
The balcony fracas came a day after black members of Congress say they were regaled with the N-word and flying saliva by anti-healthcare protesters outside the U.S. Capitol.
Now there’s been vandalism against Democratic congressional offices and threatening phone calls to lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Sarah Palin is exhorting anti-Obama activists to “reload” and take aim at House Democrats from congressional districts that she’s marked on a Facebook map with little rifle scope cross hairs.
But Frank may not want to hold his breath while waiting for a GOP apology. Republicans also seem unlikely to condemn the bad behavior without also seeking to justify their supporters’ anger.
For example, John McCain, the former Republican presidential nominee, says there’s no connection between what Republicans have said and what their supporters have done.
“I have seen the rhetoric of ‘targeted districts’ as long as I’ve been in politics,” McCain told NBC’s Today show. “Any threat of violence is terrible. But to say that there’s a targeted district or that we reload or go back into the fight again — please! Those are fine. They’re used all the time. Those words have been used throughout my political career.”
“I’ll tell you one thing that has people enraged, and that is the sleazy backroom deals, the sausage-making that is going on … everybody was there (in the healthcare negotiations) but the American people. They don’t feel their voice has been heard,” McCain said.
Photo credits: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Barney Frank); Reuters/Larry Downing (Capitol Hill protesters); Reuters/Omar Sobhani (John McCain)
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