Hillary Clinton, in a television interview Tuesday, rejected the idea that Democrats should be “civil” with Republicans in the age of Donald Trump, embracing a more confrontational and aggressive political approach.
“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” Clinton said.
Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee said, “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.”
Clinton’s comments come amid escalating attacks against Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials by left-wing activists.
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said Sunday his wife had received a graphic text message with a video depicting a beheading, after Gardner voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Before and after the vote, thousands of demonstrators stormed the halls of Congress and steps of the Supreme Court to protest Kavanaugh.
Last week, Democratic intern Jackson Cosko, who recently worked as an unpaid intern for Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, also was arrested for posting the personal information of Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah on Wikipedia -- including their home addresses.
During the Kavanaugh battle, two female activists cornered Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., in an elevator and screamed at him, with one of them repeatedly demanding he look at her as she accused him of suggesting her own sexual assault “doesn’t matter.”
And days earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife Heidi were hounded out of a restaurant by protesters peppering the senator with questions about Kavanaugh and chanting “we believe survivors” and “cancel Kavanaugh.”
The tactic of hounding lawmakers and Trump officials out of restaurants became more prevalent in June, when White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were driven out of restaurants amid the backlash over the separation of illegal immigrant families at the border.
Such confrontations were encouraged by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who days later called on supporters to confront Trump officials in public spaces.
“If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere,” she told a crowd.
This week, Republicans have been pushing back against such tactics. Some have pointed to the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., at a Republican baseball practice last year as a reminder of how heated rhetoric can lead to much worse.
Kelley Paul, the wife of Sen. Rand Paul, revealed that she now keeps a loaded gun by her bed after her family has “experienced violence and threats of violence at a horrifying level.”
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.