Appearing on Newsmax’s “National Report” on Friday, Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-OR) discussed how the attempted attack on Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) made him concerned about “how we calm people down and remind them” that the U.S. can only function properly “if we don’t have violence.”
Political violence in the U.S. has been escalating over the past few years, especially coming from the left. From the congressional baseball shooting in 2017 that wounded Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four others to the BLM riots of 2020 that left at least 25 people dead, the left has become increasingly radicalized and desensitized to violence against their political opponents.
Most recently, during an event in upstate New York on Thursday, a man jumped up on stage and fought with Zeldin — who is currently campaigning for governor — before being taken into custody.
When asked about what was going through his mind as he watched footage of the attack on the New York congressman, Bentz said that he told himself, “Thank goodness he wasn’t hurt.”
The Oregon Republican went on to say that the incident also made him think about “how many town halls and other public appearances I’m going to be doing, and all the rest of us in Congress are going to be doing, over the month of August and into September.”
“Our entire careers here in Congress are in front of people,” Bentz continued. “What is happening is a lot more anger that I think is facilitated by social media is being expressed by people in these kinds of actions. And so, how we calm people down and remind them that this country only works if we don’t have violence, is a real question.”
The GOP congressman also pointed out that the incident could potentially lead to members of Congress needing increased security, as escalating political violence in the country could lead to potential threats on their lives at ordinary political events, though he hopes that won’t be necessary.
“Thank goodness the congressman wasn’t hurt, and I hope we don’t have to resort to everybody having massive amounts of security,” he added. “I know certain of my colleagues on the Democrat side already are spending various significant sums on security. I don’t, and I hope I don’t have to.”