EXCLUSIVE — House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., blamed the right's "demonization of Nancy Pelosi" for the attack on Paul Pelosi in their San Francisco home, saying that this is what happens in a country that follows "Germany in the early '30s."   

"This country is on track to repeat what happened in Germany when it was the greatest democracy going, when it elected a chancellor that then co-opted the media," Clyburn told Fox News Digital on Thursday. "This past president called the press the enemy of the people. That is a bunch of crap. And that is what's going on in this country."

President Biden gave an impromptu speech on Wednesday, his last major address before Election Day, in which he seemed to point the finger at the right for the Paul Pelosi attack, while also accusing Republicans of supporting political violence, election denialism and voter intimidation.

Though the South Carolina Democrat decried the right's "demonization" of Nancy Pelosi that he says is to blame for the attack, Clyburn doesn't see Biden's frequent vilification of "ultra-MAGA Republicans" as equivalent. 


The president's harsh rhetoric of Trump supporters is entirely different, according to Clyburn, because Biden is directing his attacks at a "philosophy" and not an individual.

When asked why Americans should vote to keep Democrats in control of Congress, despite record-high inflation and rising gas prices, Clyburn downplayed economic concerns.

"I think that people should be voting in their own self-interest. And their self-interest is much more than what you may or may not be paying for gas or a loaf of bread," he said.

Clyburn went on to suggest that the choice between Democrats and Republicans is whether to vote for democracy or autocracy, echoing President Biden's Wednesday night speech.


"The question is," Clyburn said, "are we going to have a society that everyone can participate in? Or are we going to have an autocracy?"

The majority whip's pitch to voters contradicts advice coming from many political analysts who say that Democrats need to focus on economic issues ahead of a potentially brutal election night just days away.   

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., currently serves as the House majority whip.

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., currently serves as the House majority whip. (Carolyn Kaster)

Democrats have sounded the alarm over election denialism throughout the midterms, often pointing to Republicans who refused to certify presidential election results in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.  

However, Clyburn is among a group of Democrats who voted against awarding Ohio's electoral votes to President George W. Bush in 2005, despite Bush wining the state by over 118,000 votes. The group of Democrats cited "election irregularities" as their reasoning for delaying the certification of the 2004 presidential results.  

When asked whether this constituted election denialism, the majority whip sharply shot down the question.

"It’s totally different," said Clyburn. "We didn’t call anybody about a change in the votes. We just voted on a process. To protest a process is what we did. Nobody stormed the Capitol. Nobody disrupted the count. We only voted to protest a process, which is a legitimate thing in this country."

Republican Senate candidate Don Bolduc reacts during a primary night election party in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Republican U.S. Senate candidate Don Bolduc smiles during a primary night campaign gathering in Hampton, New Hampshire, on Sept. 13, 2022. (Reba Saldanha)

The Democratic Party has taken heat over their support of several far-right candidates in GOP primary elections, who are often branded election deniers, in hopes of nominating Republican opponents they see as more extreme and less likely to win against a Democrat.

This strategy appears to be backfiring in at least one race where the far-right candidate could potentially win. 

Democrats spent $3.2 million boosting Don Bolduc in the New Hampshire Senate primary. Now, as the GOP nominee in the general election, Bolduc's unexpected success is raising concerns among Democrats as polls show him closing in on incumbent Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan.


Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in Congress, appeared to distance himself from his party on this issue, saying that the strategy is "not anything I advocate" and "still not something I subscribe to," even if proven to be successful following Election Day.