According to former Rep. Dave Jolly (R-FL), no one -- including members of the party he abandoned due to Donald Trump -- should be surprised at the violence that erupted at the Nation's Capitol on Jan. 6th that left five dead, adding that it has been coming since Trump was elected in 2016.
In an in-depth interview with Sean Illing at Vox, Jolly, who has become an MSNBC contributor, attempted to explain what has happened to the Republican party that seems split between Trump loyalists -- some of whom truly believe Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen from him -- and others who fear for their lives and the safety of their families if they buck the president.
As Jolly sees it, the Republican Party has become a slave to the violent elements of the right-wing followers of the president and they may never stop haunting the GOP -- particularly if the leadership attempts to purge the members still pledging allegiance to Trump.
Regarding the threat of violence that has hinted at by the president for four years, Jolly stated, "So, were we aware that this could happen? I think so. Were we hopeful it wouldn't? Certainly. Were we surprised that it finally did? Nope. I think the more surprising thing is that Trump actually incited an insurrection and brought violence into the sanctuary of the House and Senate chamber and still, for the most part, maintained control of the GOP."
Jolly admitted that threats from supporters of the president are a very real thing, adding that one man threatened him three years ago and still wears an ankle-monitoring bracelet while living a few miles away from his Florida home.
Having said that, Jolly said he has no sympathy for members of Congress who refuse to do their jobs and do what is right when the president is wrong.
"What would I say to members of Congress? I'd say this is part of what we signed up for. And I don't mean we signed up for threats of violence. But in being willing to serve, you also have accepted the public role that comes with making hard decisions as to where our nation should be going and what constitutional values we are going to try to affirm in our role as elected officials," he explained. "I don't think you can let the threat of violence influence a vote in this matter. And if you do, I suppose you're answering to the wrong conviction."
Adding, "Look, there is a violent political movement that has found safe harbor in the Republican Party," Jolly suggested, "That is not to say the Republican Party writ large is a violent political movement. But the violence we saw in the name of politics emerged through Trump's GOP. And as swiftly as I criticize the president, I am measured and careful not to unnecessarily take a cheap shot."
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'A violent political movement has found safe harbor in the Republican Party': GOP lawmaker driven out by Trump
January 15, 2021, 11:31 AM ET