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Republicans Smearing Chuck Schumer With Kavanaugh Assassination Attempt

The context of the Democrat’s “threatening” speech is clearly nonviolent.

Photo: Intelligencer. Photo: Getty Images

Nicholas John Roske was taken into custody when he called an emergency line and confessed that he wanted to kill Brett Kavanaugh, in distress over the justice’s positions on gun control and abortion. The Republican Party seized on the news to blame Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

To take just a few examples, here is Ted Cruz:

And Josh Hawley:

And Charles Grassley:

The point has been echoed by conservative pundits like Andrew McCarthy, Dan McLaughlin, David Harsanyi, and on and on.

The smoking gun linking Schumer to the assassination plot is a speech he gave to a pro-choice rally in 2020. (A relatively long time for incitement to come to fruition.) The portion of the speech in which Schumer was allegedly seeding a murder plot is this:

From Louisiana to Missouri to Texas, Republican legislatures are waging a war on women, all women, and they’re taking away fundamental rights. I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.

Every one of the conservatives cited above quotes this passage. Was Schumer threatening a violent response? Or was he threatening a political response? The conservatives all simply assume the former and blame Schumer accordingly.

This is a strange interpretation to follow in the context of Schumer’s career, which is not as a paramilitary insurgent but as a rumpled parliamentary insider who is known for his inordinate enthusiasm for announcing new funds for local parks and community centers.

More relevant context can be found in the speech itself. The very next lines in the speech, after “decisions,” are as follows:

The bottom line is very simple. We will stand with the American people. We will stand with American women. We will tell President Trump and Senate Republicans, who have stacked the Court with right-wing ideologues, that you’re going to be gone in November, and you will never be able to do what you’re trying to do now ever, ever again. You hear that over there on the far right? You’re gone in November.

Schumer was threatening a political response, not a violent response. You’ll be shocked to learn that none of the conservatives quote or mention this part of the speech.

Conservatives have put together their false implication that Schumer was threatening violence with their (unproven) assumption that the leak of the Dobbs draft was done by a liberal to reach even darker conclusions. National Review editor-in-chief Rich Lowry portrays the leak as a liberal scheme to terrify the conservative justices into submission:

Right-wing legal apparatchik Josh Blackman demands the Court cease all deliberation and announce it is overturning Roe immediately:

Why is there a delay? So Roberts can take yet another ill-fated attempt to pick off one or two votes? A real leader would have put aside his quixotical quest for balance. Every day that passes, as the Chief haggles over votes, a target remains on the backs of his colleagues.

Notice how it is a conservative who is explicitly leveraging the threat of violence to implore the Court to reach the outcome he prefers.

You can fairly impugn Schumer (whose home is the site of regular protests) for having endorsed the right of protesters to gather outside the homes of Supreme Court justices. Such protests are inevitably threatening to their targets, since they provide the perfect cover for an armed nut. But Schumer also rushed through a bill to enhance security for the Court’s members. Whatever you wish to say about Schumer, he is not a violent extremist nor the sort of politician who encourages violent extremism.

GOP Smearing Schumer With Kavanaugh Assassination Attempt