Republicans only respect strength and Democrats can only afford civility if they win in the upcoming midterms, Hillary Clinton has argued against the backdrop of increasingly violent US politics.
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” the former presidential candidate told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Tuesday. “That’s why I believe if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then the only thing the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”
Her comments come amid calls for a return to civility following an ugly political battle over President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court. Democrats sought to stop Kavanaugh by any and all means, from procedural delays and accusations of sexual impropriety in high school and college to mass protests, activists accosting Republican senators in elevators and airports, and death threats.
They failed. Kavanaugh was sworn in on Monday as the ninth Justice of the Supreme Court.
Clinton described the Republicans as an “ideological party that is driven by the lust for power,” and said only winning elections, not civility, can stop “what they intend to do” with America.
While some Republican lawmakers have condemned Clinton’s remarks and asked her party to denounce them, others have embraced them as a talking point to mobilize their base.
“What an irresponsible statement. Every Democrat should denounce,” tweeted Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), pointing out that Republicans have been “shot, stabbed, doxxed, beaten, mailed powder, run out of restaurants, and sent death threats.”
“Seriously, Hillary?” was the reaction of Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), who was seriously wounded last year when a shooter – who was a registered Democrat – targeted a Congressional Republican baseball practice in Virginia.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) held up Clinton’s remarks as an embodiment of what the Democrats stood for.
“She told CNN exactly how she views millions of Americans who hold different political views than her own,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “No peace until they get their way? More of these unhinged tactics? Apparently, these are the left’s rallying cry.”
NRA TV seems to think so as well, using Clinton’s remarks to promote a show hosted by former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino.