MAGA Terrorist Wanted to Break Nancy Pelosi’s Kneecaps, and Republicans Don’t Care

The audacity of fascist reactionaries knows no bounds.

Office of Speaker Pelosi, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In a disgusting display of horrible and rabid terrorism, a pro-Trump assailant broke into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and beat her 82-year-old husband, Paul Pelosi, over the head with a hammer. The attacker, David DePape, reportedly shouted, “Where’s Nancy” and planned to wait for her return, planning to tie up Mr. Pelosi and hold him hostage. In an interview with police, DePape allegedly claimed that he wanted to break Speaker Pelosi’s kneecaps if she didn’t comply with his questioning. Officers involved in the investigation have warned that the attack was politically motivated against Pelosi and the Democratic Party, but Republicans have been maddeningly silent or downright celebratory of the attack.

When such a disgusting attack occurs, it is critical that those in power condemn it completely and universally. Politically motivated violence can’t be allowed to go unopposed unless the goal is to spread violence throughout the American body politic. Republican pundits and leaders, however, have taken the exact opposite position.

Not long after the attack, the former President’s son, Donald Trump Jr. posted an image of a hammer and a pair of underwear, saying, “Got my Paul Pelosi costume ready.”

Donald Trump Jr.’s now-deleted Instagram post about Paul Pelosi. (Screenshot by Ron Dicker)

The post is a reference to the debunked idea that both the attacker and Mr. Pelosi were both found in their underwear when police arrived, suggesting that the attack was not politically motivated but was a gay meetup that went wrong. That conspiracy theory prompted the phrase ” Paul Pelosi is gay” to trend on Twitter.

Though he would later delete the post, the former president’s son doubled down in his disregard for the severity of the attempted kidnapping of the Speaker of the House, tweeting, “Imagine how safe the country would be if democrats took all violent crime as seriously as they’re taking the Paul Pelosi situation. They simply don’t care about you.”

Nor was he alone in his absurd desire to flip the script on the objective victims of political violence. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene argued that DePape’s immigration status was more important than the fact that he was a self-described opponent of the Democratic party and openly stated he wanted to hold Pelosi for questioning under the threat of torture. Instead, Greene attempted to blame Pelosi’s support for gun control.

Of course, it is rather convenient for Greene to ignore his history of far-right blogging and hostility to supposed “commies,” especially when one considers that Greene herself accused the Speaker of treason and insinuated that she should be executed.

Others were even willing to encourage their audience to support DePaper. Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, while claiming the attack was horrible, also encouraged his audience to post bail for the assailant.

The cowardice inherent in these positions is one of the greatest strengths of the MAGA movement. They will say the most absurd, vile, and violent bile they can to rile up their base and fall back when their rhetoric inevitably results in someone acting based on their propaganda.

On its face, one could expect this to be a major weakness and the destruction of the movement’s credibility, but in reality, it allows the MAGA activists to play both sides of the coin. All they have to do is lay low when the media comes to critique them, claim some sort of martyrdom, and then wait for the public’s attention to shift away, which it inevitably does.

This is precisely why Republicans like Kirk, Trump Jr, and Greene don’t care about the threat of political violence against their rivals. They don’t mind if it polarizes American politics even further and threatens lives. The extremism and cruelty are the point, and thus far, there have been very few consequences for it. Nobody should be surprised that this rhetoric continues, even if it means mocking the brutal assault of an 84-year-old man.

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