Cantor blasts Dems for using threats against lawmakers as ‘political weapons’

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Jon Ward
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      Jon Ward

      Jon Ward covers the White House and national politics for The Daily Caller. He covered the last two years of George W. Bush's presidency and the first year of Barack Obama's presidency for The Washington Times. Prior to moving to national politics, Jon worked for the Times' city desk and bureaus in Virginia and Maryland, covering local news and politics, including the D.C. sniper shootings and subsequent trial, before moving to state politics in Maryland. He and his wife have two children and live on Capitol Hill. || <a href="mailto:jw@dailycaller.com">Email Jon</a>

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor on Thursday accused Democrats of using threats against lawmakers as “political weapons” for partisan gain, blasting their actions as “reprehensible.”

Cantor, a Virginia Republican, went after two Democrats by name – Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat.

Cantor said he had “deep concern” that Van Hollen and Kaine were “dangerously fanning the flames by suggesting that these incidents be used as a political weapon.”

“It is reckless to use these incidents as media vehicles for political gain,” Cantor said.

“By ratcheting up the rhetoric, some will only inflame these situations to dangerous levels. Enough is enough. It has to stop.”

Van Hollen spokesman Doug Thornell said Cantor “had the opportunity to join Mr. Van Hollen in calling for restraint.”

“Instead, he chose to use his press conference to level false accusations,” Thornell said. “This is straight out of the Republicans’ political playbook of deflecting responsibility and distracting attention away from a serious issue.”

Later Thursday, the number two Republican in the Senate, Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, agreed with Cantor, saying the Democrats were using the incidents for politics and calling it “a shame.”

“Nobody wants anybody to be under threat. There are always a few people out there in the world who do irresponsible things. That’s not the Democrats’ fault, it’s not the Republicans’ fault,” he said. “And so I get a little bit tired of, every time something like that happens, ‘Oh that’s the fault of the Republicans.’”

“That’s baloney.”

Cantor said he has received threats regularly since taking elected office both because of his political positions and because he is Jewish, and that just recently his district campaign office in Richmond had a bullet shot through the window. His office has also received “threatening e-mails” recently, he said.

But he said he does not make these incidents public because he believes that by doing so it will only encourage more of the same.

DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said that Democratic calls for statements from the GOP to condemn violence and threats was “entirely appropriate.”

“Instead of trying to distract from the issue with more attacks, we would ask Mr. Cantor and other Republicans to join Chairman Kaine in working to ratchet down the deplorable behavior and disagree on these issues without appearing disagreeable,” Sevugan said in an e-mailed statement.

Cantor did not take any questions after making his statement. When asked if he would be supporting a bipartisan statement by Democratic and Republican leaders condemning the recent threats against lawmakers, he said, “My statement speaks for itself.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Maryland Democrat, called for such a statement Thursday on CNN. Hoyer has estimated that around 10 Democrats have been on the receiving end of threats of defacement of their offices since passing health care.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, Ohio Republican, met with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, to discuss the rash of publicly reported threats and violent acts against Democratic lawmakers in recent days.

Democrats also complained last weekend that protesters hurled racist and anti-gay epithets at black and gay lawmakers during the last two days of debate over the health bill.

Democrats have begun over the past few days to blame Republican lawmakers directly for some of the violence, saying their attacks on the legislation were in part to blame for violence and threats.

“[Republicans] are going to own part of that. They’re going to own part of the slurs cast at members of Congress, people vandalizing members of Congress’ offices,” Kaine said on MSNBC Wednesday.

Van Hollen said on the same TV network Wednesday that the Republican party needed “some adult supervision.”

But prior to Cantor’s statement Thursday, some Democrats were starting to try to play peacemaker.

Pelosi said Thursday that not all protesters should be “painted with the same brush” by the actions of a few, and some Democratic aides began saying that GOP leaders and Democratic leaders would be issuing a bipartisan statement condemning violence or threats.

Boehner himself said nothing about Democratic gamesmanship in a separate press conference a few minutes before Cantor’s.

“I know many Americans are angry over this health care bill,” Boehner said.

But, he added, “violence and threats are unacceptable. They have no place in a political debate.”

“We need to take that anger and channel it into what I would describe as positive change,” Boehner said.

Even those comments, however, received an angry response from one Democrat.

Rep. Tom Perriello, a Virginia Democrat — whose brother had the gas line to his house cut this week — called Boehner’s comments “outrageous.”

“What he was saying was, for those of you who are threatening people’s children, we want you to channel that anger into the campaign. No, we want those people to go to jail,” Perriello said.

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  • Cross Section
  • murrayabraham
    • moira1987

      It’s not Cantor’s fault that the Leftists can’t shoot straight! :)

    • yellowstone


  • anniebanannie

    “No, we want those people to go to jail,” Perriello said.”

    Keep stokin’ that fire. Follow the orders from the Whitehouse like a good little sheep. Try putting a little cornstarch in an envelope and mail it to yourself. That seems to work to get a little attention. Daschle/Weiner playbook, page 12910, v. 2.0.

    • moira1987

      Isn’t Perriello the one who said “stop me before I steal again?” :) He’s a class act.

      • anniebanannie

        He loves his 15 minutes of attention, whether good or bad.

    • HaydukeLives

      They mailed themselves cornstarch? Hrrrrrmmmmmmmm? (scratches head)

      • anniebanannie

        Just following the left’s “make-up-crap-to-say” meme.

        • HaydukeLives

          So you were being facetious? Good answer. Theres a risk of being marginalized as a kook if you make statements like that literally. It’s cool though, I’m here to keep you honest. (smile)

          • anniebanannie

            Well, if Cantor’s bullet wasn’t real (according to the leftnuts), how do we know Weiner’s white powder was? Maybe some babypowder just fell out of his diaper.

          • HaydukeLives

            Mmmmmmmm Hmmmmmm. Was I defending Anthony Weiner. Refresh my memory.

        • HaydukeLives

          Daddy Hayduke has your back.

          • hurtzallot

            It’s not their back they’re worried about…well kinda’

          • HaydukeLives


  • elektramourns

    I think he should be prosecuted for lying. Remember the guy who told the media his kid went up in a balloon? He had to pay. Same here. There is no substance to Mr. Cantor’s statement.

    • yellowstone


  • thermatrondeflated

    the gunshot affair is bogus. no one in law enforecement is giving it any credence.

    He was never under attack in Richmond.

    What a piece of work he is !

    YOU LIE !!

    • moira1987

      no one in law enforecement is giving it any credence.

      If by “law enforcement” you mean Media Matters… ;)

    • hurtzallot

      ?…reminds me of the phantom spit job. A little birdie told me that incident was a FREE American Eagle letting loose of his thoughts on this whole matter.

      • anniebanannie

        I blame it on global warming — it’s raining lead.

      • anniebanannie

        btw – I read your post on the Iraq war. Just want you to know you made us proud and are owed a debt too great to ever be paid. God Bless you and all the others in uniform.

  • anny

    This from a guy who uses wikipedia as a link? In case you didn’t realize it, anyone can edit Wikipedia…. anyone. Wikipedia is not accepted as a reference in any authentic research. Hence, why should anyone find a link for you contending the opposite of your dubious source? As well, if a person looks around the internet for long enough, that person can find anything they want, and if they continue to look, they can find the opposite of what they found previously. You are simply not an intelligent person, and it is a waste of time to argue with idiots.

  • libertyatstake

    Ummmmmm…..there is no professional politician, GOP or otherwise, who holds rhetorical sway over the grass roots rise in defense of the Constitution. GOP still has a chance to benefit – by holding together in opposition to the Progressive hacks who’ve hijacked our government. We’ll see.

    [For a light hearted take on our present peril]