The Politics of Threat – The New York Times


For years in Congress, the unofficial rule of receiving death threats was to avoid talking about them. It seems to have changed.

As the House debated last week whether to censor Paul Gosar, a far-right congressman from Arizona, for posting an edited animated video of the representative killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, progressive from New York, something unusual has happened. Speaking one after another, lawmakers delivered candid and raw confessions about how often they too had received violent threats.

Nikema Williams, a first-year Democrat from Georgia, described how strange it was to drop off your child in kindergarten flanked by security guards. Jackie Walorski, a veteran Republican from Indiana, revealed that an activist recently attempted to run over him with his car.

“The threat of real violence against members of Congress is real and growing,” said Ted Deutch of Florida, a Democrat who heads the House Ethics Committee. “Now more than ever, many of us fear for our physical safety.”

I have covered Congress for over three years, and the testimonies of these lawmakers seemed to prove just how much the growing threat of political violence has weighed on American politics since the Jan.6 assault on Capitol Hill by partisans. of Trump.

But the Republican response to Gosar’s eventual censorship was equally striking: Party leaders in the House ostensibly refused to condemn the video, and their ranks almost unanimously closed ranks around Gosar. A dozen Republicans rallied in solidarity around him while he was censored.

The vote was aimed at showing responsibility for political violence. Instead, he revealed a more disturbing trend: a growing tolerance within the Republican Party for the threatening and inflammatory rhetoric increasingly espoused by its loudest voices. It was a glimpse of what could become the new status quo in Washington.

The timeline that culminated in Gosar’s censorship began when he posted the video this month. A roughly edited work, it depicted him cutting Ocasio-Cortez’s neck off and swinging swords at President Biden.

Gosar, who allied with white nationalists, refused to apologize. He insisted the video was meant to portray a “token” political battle over immigration.

But it was clear that the shadow of the January attack on Capitol Hill loomed over last week’s debates. Democrats warned that Gosar’s comments could be seen as the same type of call to arms made by Donald Trump on January 6 when he encouraged his supporters at a rally to march on Congress and “fight back.” like a devil ”.

And while Gosar’s video was the most provocative display of violence amplified by a sitting member of Congress, it was just the latest example of Republican lawmakers using viciously suggestive language.

In the days and weeks leading up to the riot, Trump’s closest allies in the House, including Gosar, used belligerent and inflammatory rhetoric to encourage their supporters to fight Biden’s victory. They falsely suggested that Trump was the victim of an attempted “coup” and presented January 6 as the party’s “1776 moment”.

While politically motivated violence targeting lawmakers – in both parties – is not a new phenomenon, Capitol Police say they have seen a rapid increase in threats and violent messages over the past five years, as the style Trump’s policy was becoming mainstream. A spokesperson declined to break down the threats by party, but a review of court records indicates Republicans and Congressional Democrats have been targeted.

Democrats removed Gosar from his posts on two House committees. But his exile might not last long. Republicans are already promising political retaliation if they retake the House.

Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader, told reporters he would fire Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Republican from Georgia whom Democrats have also fired from committees for violent comment, to their missions if Republicans regain a majority. 2023. And McCarthy reiterated that Republicans would consider ejecting some Democrats from their committee seats.

Shortly after being censored, Gosar retweeted his original violent video and Trump launched a new endorsement of him.

The act of congressional censorship aims to cast a shadow of disgrace over a lawmaker for politicians and voters. Instead, by rallying around Gosar, Republican leaders expressed their implicit support, even as they publicly but vaguely denounced the violence.

These ramifications will extend beyond Gosar’s political position.

“It’s not about me. It’s not about Representative Gosar,” Ocasio-Cortez said on the floor of the House. “That’s about what we’re willing to accept.”

  • At least five people have died and 40 others injured after an SUV smashed through a vacation parade in a Milwaukee suburb.

  • Police said one person was in custody.

  • “The car just passed in front of us, there was a lot of panic,” said a 14-year-old walking in the parade.

  • Two of the 17 aid workers kidnapped more than a month ago in Haiti have been released.

  • Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis star who disappeared from public view after accusing a former government official of sexual assault, held a video call.

  • Israel has repeatedly attacked Iran’s nuclear and missile facilities, but Tehran appears to be rebuilding them quickly.

  • From the weekend: Cobalt is the key to an environmentally friendly future. The quest to obtain it is a story of exploitation.

Gail collins and Bret stephens discuss what they are grateful for.

In the embassies of France and England in Washington, the Hundred Years War is still raging, Maureen Dowd writing.

IA: A robot helped write this book review.

The time of the quiz: The average score on our last news quiz was 9.2. How can you do well?

Tips from Wirecutter: How to clean vinyl records.

Lives lived: Mick Rock’s images of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Debbie Harry and others have made him one of the most acclaimed photographers in rock and pop. Rock died at 72.

From those early photos of Lady Gaga and Adam Driver in extravagant après-ski looks on set, it was clear that the “House of Gucci” biopic would be a show. Gaga plays Patrizia Reggiani, the ex-wife of Maurizio Gucci, heir to the luxury brand’s fortune. In 1998, Reggiani – nicknamed “the black widow” in the Italian press – was convicted of plotting the murder of Gucci.

Before her divorce from Gucci, Reggiani was an eccentric among the Italian jet set – she once said, “I’d rather cry in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle. After Gucci was gunned down outside his Milan office in 1995, Reggiani told friends and reporters that she wanted him dead. In his diary, the day Gucci was killed, there was only one word: “Paradeisos”, the Greek word for “paradise”.

In 1998, The Times called Reggiani’s trial “the quintessential real-life soap opera.” It combined “some of the country’s favorite obsessions: sex, money, designer shoes and astrology.” (Reggiani’s personal clairvoyant was among the co-conspirators, admitting that she helped hire the man who shot Gucci on her client’s instructions.)

Reggiani spent 16 years in prison. Since her release, reports The Guardian, she has often been photographed around Milan with a parrot perched on her shoulder.

More on the film: The Times has a Q&A with the costume designer, and The Cut breaks down some of the … colorful accents in the movie. – Sanam Yar, a morning writer

Friday’s spelling contest pangram was familiarly. Here is today’s puzzle – or you can play it online.


Comments are closed.