Calls for civility after vandalism, violent clashes outside GOP headquarters in New York

Republicans in New York called upon Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other Democrats to denounce vandalism and violence after a Republican office in New York City was damaged this week.

“Last night one of our state headquarter buildings was attacked by radical leftists," said Marc Molinaro, the state Republican Party's nominee to challenge Cuomo for governor. "This type of political violence and rank vandalism is unacceptable. We are one nation and one state. We must not revert to violence under any circumstances."

Molinaro tweeted photos showing that the New York state Republican headquarters had had windows smashed, door locks filled with glue, and "anarchy" symbols spray-painted on the entrance.

In a statement Friday, state Republican Chairman Ed Cox joined Molinaro in calling the attack on GOP headquarters "unacceptable."

Both GOP leaders called on Cuomo to condemn the attack "and call for calm on the political left."

Cox accused Democrats -- including Hillary Clinton and former Attorney General Eric Holder -- of "inciteful rhetoric" that he said "must be stopped before someone gets hurt."

In an interview with CNN, Clinton made comments that some critics said seemed to condone mistreatment of Republicans.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”

The comments were blasted by some Democrats as well as Republicans.

"I can't imagine how you get anything done if you don't bring civility back into politics," said U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., in response to Clinton's remarks. "And that goes for both sides."

Holder was captured on video speaking Sunday at a campaign event for local Georgia Democratic candidates. In the clip, he rejected former first lady Michelle Obama's famous call for civility in politics – adopting a confrontational tone that’s become increasingly fashionable amid the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation fight and other debates.

"It is time for us, as Democrats, to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are," Holder told the crowd. "Michelle always says -- I love her; she and my wife are like, really tight, which always scares me and Barack -- but Michelle always says, 'When they go low, we go high.' No. When they go low, we kick 'em." 

President Trump, in an interview Thursday on “Fox & Friends,” rebuked Holder, calling his “kick” remark “disgusting” and “dangerous.”

“He better be careful what he’s wishing for,” Trump told Fox News. “That’s a disgusting statement for him to make.”

The vandalism that occurred at the New York GOP headquarters overnight Thursday was followed Friday evening by violence outside the same office that resulted in three arrests.

Videos posted online showed several men kicking a man who was on the ground.

The clashes followed a speech at the headquarters by the founder of a far-right group. Police said Saturday they were reviewing video and could make additional arrests.

The speaker was Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, a group that describe themselves as "western chauvinists."

The clashes appeared to be between the Proud Boys and groups that were protesting McInnes' speech. No serious injuries were reported.

The three people who were arrested face assault charges.

After the Friday evening clashes, Cuomo denounced the violence that occurred at the GOP headquarters.

"Authorities must review these videos immediately and make arrests and prosecute as appropriate," he said. "Hate cannot and will not be tolerated in New York."

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, a Democrat who is running for state attorney general, said, "I am disturbed and disgusted by the videos I've seen of members of the neo-fascist, white supremacist Proud Boys group engaging in hate-fueled mob violence on the streets of New York City."

In response to Thursday's overnight vandalism, Geoff Berman, executive director of the New York State Democratic Committee, said his party has "zero tolerance for violence."

"This type of divisiveness is repugnant to everything we believe as New Yorkers," he said, before turning his criticism on Republicans. "That being said, Ed Cox and Marc Molinaro's rhetoric on this is wildly inappropriate. We need less hate and division - not more."

Fox News' Gregg Re and Judson Berger and the Associated Press contributed to this report.