After some tense encounters with a few supporters of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Minority Whip Steve Scalise called on her and others to “stand up” to violent threats.
As IJR previously reported, Ocasio-Cortez and Scalise were in a civil back-and-forth about tax policy when some of the congresswoman’s supporters escalated the situation.
Republicans: Let Americans keep more of their own hard-earned money
Democrats: Take away 70% of your income and give it to leftist fantasy programs https://t.co/NxJPSCqvrt
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 5, 2019
You’re the GOP Minority Whip. How do you not know how marginal tax rates work?
Oh that’s right, almost forgot: GOP works for the corporate CEOs showering themselves in multi-million?bonuses; not the actual working people whose wages + healthcare they’re ripping off for profit. https://t.co/R1YIng2Ok1
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 6, 2019
Scalise, who nearly lost his life during the shooting at the Republican Congressional baseball practice, was greeted with comments saying that someone should “snipe” him for debating with Ocasio-Cortez.
After the threats began to roll in, Scalise tweeted that he would continue the debate at the Capitol, but refused to continue on Twitter.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 6, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez also dropped the argument after Scalise posted the threats from her supporters. Although the congresswoman isn’t responsible for the actions of her supporters, Scalise told “Fox & Friends” that he would have liked to see her condemn the threats.
He explained the situation to Fox News host Brian Kilmeade.
“I was just trying to have a little fun debate about this. It’s an important issue. I strongly disagree with this idea that you should confiscate all the money or most of the money that people make and try to get into this class warfare debate. I said ‘look, let’s have an economy that works for everybody.’ By the way, our tax rates, the fact that we cut taxes, is creating jobs. It’s helping rebuild our middle class. Those very hardworking families. Once we started getting into this Twitter back-and-forth, a lot of her followers started making some very inappropriate references and comments. I said ‘you know what, I’m not going to have this debate here. I’ll have it with you on the house floor.'”
Scalise stated that he would have appreciated if Ocasio-Cortez had condemned the comments, but he also noted that it isn’t just the congresswoman’s responsibility to condemn violence. It’s everyone’s responsibility.
“I’d like to see her stand up to this,” said Scalise. “Everybody ought to stand up to this kind of discussion. If somebody wants to have a debate about policy, that’s what we’re all about. That’s what the first amendment is all about. But you shouldn’t threaten people. If you’ve got to threaten people to make your point, you’ve already lost.”