In case you missed ’em—here’s what the newsmakers said on the Sunday morning talk shows.
Security Ideas Following Attack on House Speaker’s Husband
As police reveal more details about the break-in at the California residence of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the violent attack upon her husband, a pair of U.S. Senators offered some ideas for how to keep elected officials and other government workers safe going forward.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, detailed “several things we can do from a security standpoint” on NBC’s Meet the Press.
She said that first of all, the “Big Four leaders”—the Speaker, the Minority leader in the House, and the Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate—currently have protective details but extending that detail to their residential homes “should be strongly considered.” She went on to say that, following an attempt on the life of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh several months ago, “We actually did pass legislation that I strongly supported on a bipartisan basis to extend [security details] to their family.”
As for the other members of Congress, “there can be levels of protection. Maybe it’s local police, maybe it’s more funding for the marshals,” she said.
She also revealed that she plans to take up a bipartisan amendment after the midterms that would allow Congress members to remove their private information off the internet. “There is a similar provision that has been put forth for judges, and this is part of the National Defense Reauthorization Act,” she explained. “So I’m very hopeful that finally I’ll be able to get the support to get this done.”
Klobuchar focused even further on social media companies. “I think that it’s one thing if someone is posting stuff on the internet, it is another when they’re making money amplifying it,” she said. “I would reduce their immunity, their Section 230 immunity it’s called, and then that would allow people to go after them when they are making money off of amplifying election falsehoods, hate speech, you know it.”
Calling what happened to Paul Pelosi “despicable” and “unacceptable,” Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), said on ABC’s This Week, “When I got this job [as NRSC Chair] in January 2021, I went to the Federal Elections Commission and said, could our Senators and House members, could they use their campaign dollars to pay for security for themselves and their family. Unfortunately, it’s become a more dangerous place, and we’ve got to do everything we can to lower the rhetoric, have a real civil conversation but also make sure people are safe.”
Debate Over Rhetoric and Political Violence
Sen. Scott also appeared on CNN’s State of the Union, where anchor Dana Bash asked him, “Should Republicans do more to reject conspiracy theories and dangerous rhetoric,” given that Pelosi’s alleged attacker embraced conspiracy theories about January 6 and the 2020 Election?
He responded evasively, saying, “We’ve got to do everything we can to get people comfortable that this election in nine days is going to be free and fair, the people’s votes are all going to be counted fairly. They’re not going to be diluted.”
On FOX News Sunday, RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel called “unfair” a Washington Post analysis that linked the attack to “Republicans’ increasingly violent and threatening rhetoric toward their political opponents.”
“This is a deranged individual,” said McDaniel. “You can’t say, people saying ‘let’s fire Pelosi’ or ‘let’s take back the House’ is saying go to violence. That’s just unfair. And I think we all need to recognize violence is up across the board.”
She then mentioned the attack on conservative-leaning Justice Kavanaugh and an attack this summer on gubernatorial candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) at a campaign event to underscore her point.
But on CBS’ Face the Nation, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-CT), Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), argued, “What’s different is people showing up with weapons and sitting in the back of a pickup truck next to a dropbox trying to scare the tar out of people who are just exercising their vote. What’s different is when a President, for the first time in our history, says he was cheated out of the results when he knows that’s a lie. So let’s not pretend for a minute that both sides have the same amount of accountability for the loss of confidence in our elections.”
CISA Boss: No Credible Threats to the Election
Meanwhile, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly said on CBS’ Face the Nation, “We have no information about specific or credible threats to disrupt or compromise election infrastructure.”
“That said,” she added, “it is a very complex threat environment. You have cyber threats, you have insider threats, you have rampant disinformation. And yes, very worryingly, you have threats of harassment, intimidation and violence against election officials, polling places and voters. Let’s be really clear. That has to stop.”
During the election process CISA is going to be its “own operation center,” she said, working with partners in both the Federal government and the private sector, and also be in direct communication with all of the state and local election officials whose job it is to run and administer elections.
“We’re going to be working to be able to respond to anything that happens. But remember, at the end of the day, the relationship between local officials and local law enforcement is incredibly important,” she emphasized.
Partisan Duke-out Over Economy & Inflation
As a new ABC News/Ipsos poll finds the economy and inflation remain the top issues for roughly half the country, the politicos on the Sunday shows squabbled over which party is better suited for tackling them going forward.
“It’s death by a thousand cuts for so many families who can’t afford rent, gas, groceries, Halloween candy. Everything is so expensive, and the Democrats own it,” said RNC Chair McDaniel. “They have the White House, the Senate and the House, and they are not running on their record. And I think the American people are looking at this and saying, do we really want to give them this job again for another two years?”
But Sen. Chris Coons (D-CT), who immediately followed McDaniel on FOX News Sunday, said Democrats actually are running on their record “because we’ve got real accomplishments to point to.”
“You didn’t hear a detailed plan for how Republicans would fight inflation, would bring gas prices down, make our country stronger. But we’ve got a record both of President Biden passing significant bipartisan legislation on issues President Trump said he would deal with like investing in infrastructure, like bringing advanced manufacturing for chips back to the United States,” he stated.
His fellow Democrat Rep. Maloney echoed his argument on CBS, “What people need to know is that we have a plan for cheaper gas, cheaper groceries, cheaper housing, cheaper health care. We have a plan for safer streets, supporting good policing and attacking gun violence, which is so much of the problem, and supporting our freedoms, our reproductive freedoms and our voting rights. And those are real plans.”
Republican Sen. Scott argued for extending Trump’s tax cuts permanently as a way to bring down inflation, saying on CNN that when he was Governor of Florida he cut taxes and fees “100 times and our revenues grew.”
When anchor Bash noted that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had concluded that permanently extending those tax cuts would add almost $3 trillion to the deficit he rejoined, “That’s assuming you don’t grow the economy…We’ve got to make government smaller, the private sector bigger.”