On Friday's edition of MSNBC's "The ReidOut," Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) reacted to the news of Nancy Pelosi's husband, Paul Pelosi, being violently attacked by a home invader looking for the Speaker of the House.
While the motives of the attacker haven't yet been confirmed by police, reports indicate that the alleged assailant, 42-year-old David DePape, prolifically spread right-wing conspiracy theories on social media. According to Swalwell, who himself has been subject to multiple death threats — including from a man who pleaded guilty this week — this can be attributed to the political atmosphere Republicans are encouraging.
"Threats against lawmakers have skyrocketed," said anchor Joy Reid. "And January 6th seems to have only made it worse. Up 144 percent from 2017, when Donald Trump was inaugurated, to 2021. It's become almost epidemic. You yourself have faced them. What do you make of what's going on in California?"
"It was always inevitable this was going to happen," said Swalwell. "...But I remember talking to Paul on January 6th, once we were allowed back in the Capitol. I went to the speaker's office to see how the staff was doing and I saw Paul consoling the staff, because he was at the Capitol as this all had gone down, and he's such a sweet and kind man. And so for this to happen to him, as inevitable as it was, it's still something we can never accept."
Republicans bear responsibility for the rise in political violence, argued Swalwell — and it goes all the way up to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), widely thought a favorite to become House speaker himself next year.
"I have to tell you, we have to draw the straight line between what is happening on the ground as these threats become decentralized from January 6th to spread out across the country, the straight line of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, others in the MAGA Republican Party who glorify violence, and their leader, Kevin McCarthy, who says nothing about it, and does nothing to stop it. If that's the environment he's going to create, it's a green light to every assailant out there to use violence rather than voting to carry out your political will."
Eric Swalwell says Republicans created a "green light" for violence www.youtube.com