Photo via Facebook/Katie Arrington
Republican candidate for Congress Katie Arrington said "both sides" were responsible for a political climate that culminated this week in pipe bombs being mailed to TV networks and Democrats who figure prominently on conservative talk radio and in grandiose liberal conspiracies.
Over the course of this week, Democrats ranging from former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to billionaire donor George Soros, a boogeyman
for cable TV talking heads since the Bush administration, were among those who were mailed pipe bombs. Arrington has featured U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters
and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker
, both of whom were targeted this week, in TV ads and campaign material in her race for a Charleston-area congressional seat against Democrat Joe Cunningham — "Pelosi Joe," as she calls him. (Cunningham vowed early in the race
to not support Dem Leader Nancy Pelosi for speaker if elected and Democrats took control of the House.)
A Florida man suspected to have mailed the bombs was arrested today.
(Note: We talked with Rep. Arrington on Friday morning, before the report of the arrest.)
Arrington is a first-term representative in the state House of Representatives. She defeated incumbent Congressman Mark Sanford in the GOP primary with the support of President Donald Trump.
In the course of conducting an interview with City Paper
ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm election today, staff writer Adam Manno asked the S.C. rep. about threats and bombs sent in the mail to CNN and Democratic figures. Arrington seemed to condemn violent rhetoric and threats, but categorically rejected association with President Trump, calling the idea "ridiculous." Instead, Arrington paraphrased Waters and Eric Holder, the former Obama attorney general, who have been outspoken about holding Republicans accountable ahead of the midterm elections.
After angry right-wing protests in Charlottesville, Va. in 2017 resulted in the death of a counter-protester, President Donald Trump softened his critique of the events, saying there were "very fine people on both sides."
We'll have a full overview of that race and more in next week's election issue, but we're sharing this portion of our conversation in its entirety today:
City Paper: How do you feel about these bomb threats and devices being mailed to prominent Democrats and media organizations?
I think that any time any person physically threatens or tries to harm, in a terroristic manner, any human being, it is wrong. Period. End of story. You do not behave like that. From people [inaudible] on others at restaurants while they’re eating, to crowds screaming at people while they’re trying to walk through the halls of Congress, to the violence of ... sending a weapon to the mail. We have to be civil. We can disagree, but we cannot be disagreeable. But the rhetoric comes from both sides. Maxine Waters clearly said to "walk up to people in restaurants," "get in their way" ...
CP: [Interrupting] Do you feel that President Trump has exacerbated this behavior with attacks against the media? Do you agree that bomb threats are worse than encouraging people to yell at others?
[Continuing] ... "kick 'em when they’re down." The rhetoric is from both sides. That is ridiculous. No. This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue. This is leadership, it should be about leading. Violence is not condoned.
CP: What about when the president seemed to praise a congressman who body-slammed a reporter during a rally?
I'm not sure … I'm stating very clearly to you: Violence to any human being in any form or fashion is unacceptable.