Yesterday, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) falsely charged that his office was “directly threatened” in a gun attack. Cantor used the incident to provide partisan cover to his unruly GOP colleagues, who have been pandering to tea party activists with increasingly unhinged and extreme rhetoric.
Last weekend, as the House vote on health reform legislation neared, Republican lawmakers whipped tea party crowds into an angry mob. For instance, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) spoke to the crowd with a megaphone, conjuring up debunked conspiracy theories about government spying into medical records and decrying what he called “tyranny.” Rep. Steve King (R-IA) held up a picture of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for the crowd, mocking it and “slapping” it. Throughout the day, the tea party protesters accosted Democratic members of Congress with racial and homophobic slurs, and one protester even spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO).
Cantor asserted that no lawmaker “would incite threats.” However, ThinkProgress has compiled a short snapshot of Republican lawmakers speeches to angry tea party crowds throughout the year, using extremely violent rhetoric. The compilation below features Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), Rep. Wally Herger (R-CA), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and King: