Tucker Carlson, host at Fox News, spoke to Jim Devine, Democratic strategist, on Monday. The two talked about Devine’s seemingly insensitive tweet that suggested Republicans should be hunted. Devine’s tweet came just hours after the horrific shooting at a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
“So, Jim Devine,” Carlson asked, “under what circumstances is it morally acceptable to use violence for political ends?”
“It’s never moral, it’s never acceptable to use violence for political ends, except perhaps in the most extreme cases, I refer you to George Washington and those guys,” Devine responded. “The fact of the matter is we do with ballots in this country what they do with bullets elsewhere. And it is not uncommon in politics that we use the language of war.”
“We talk about fierce rhetoric,” he continued, “we talk about campus crusades, and so on. You were on a television program, and I don’t know what your body count was, when you were on “Crossfire,” I assume that there were no real casualties there.”
“Oh stop, oh stop, you know what,” Carlson interrupted, “I want to have a reasonable conversation. I don’t want to demagogue this, but in the hours after five people were shot, including the House majority whip, you sent out a tweet that said, ‘hunt Republicans,’ I mean it was clearly a reference to the assassination attempt against congressman [Steve] Scalise. It’s hard to imagine how you could justify writing something like that.”
“In the immediate aftermath of the shooting at the Sandy Hook School,” Devine answered, “we heard people say, ‘This is not the time to talk about gun violence,’ we heard lots of things follow this.”
“But that’s not what you were saying,” Carlson interrupted. “You were encouraging gun violence.”
“Absolutely not, I never encouraged gun violence,” Devine said, showing a sign that read “liberal hunting permit,” intended to portray an example of extremist rhetoric on the right.
“I’m just saying is that for too long, Republicans in this country have failed to distinguish the differences between politics and war,” Devine continued. “And a lot of Democrats have failed to see the similarities. You guys either have to tone down the rhetoric, or we have to step up.”
“Sarah Palin put the crosshairs on Congress,” he added. “I’m just saying hunt Republicans instead of Democrats.”
Carlson then asked Devine if an individual who did what he did should be permitted to carry a gun. Devine insisted that he was only using a metaphorical term and he didn’t mean to actually support violence.
“My point is, Tucker, very simply,” Devine said, “that when you put up obstacles to people voting, when you secretly plot to, in the Senate, to repeal health care that’s keeping 50,000 Americans alive, and you’re otherwise erecting barriers to the democratic process where we have elections where the people that get the most votes don’t win, then what happens is, that is tyrannical government.”
“You know what,” Carlson concluded, ending the segment, “you’re an unbalanced person, and I have to say, it’s distressing that more Democrats haven’t disavowed you.”