Denouncing the Republican Party’s response to the the attack on Paul Pelosi last week, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that “laughing in the face of an 82-year-old being brutally attacked with a hammer” is “not normal, moral human behavior.”
Psaki made the impassioned comments while speaking with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes Tuesday. She expressed concern that such responses are not appropriate from elected officials and leaders.
“Sometimes as we talk about what leaders should be doing and whether they’re standing up for democratic morals and things like that, we forget. I mean — some of these people are not — if they did this and acted like this, we wouldn’t want them to be a coach, a teacher, your neighbor,” Psaki said. “This is like not normal, moral human behavior. And that’s what you want in your president regardless of party.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband was attacked Friday after assailant David DePape invaded their San Francisco home. According to CNN, DePape had a list of other targets in his self-described “suicide mission” – namely, the Speaker herself.
Hayes began his time with Psaki by contextualizing her stints with both the Obama and Biden administrations and comparing similar attacks on politicians in the past during those presidents’ respective terms.
“It’s so important, as you just did, to remind people that this is not normal, and it shouldn’t feel normal, and we shouldn’t allow it to be normal,” Psaki told Hayes. “If there was an attack, God forbid, on the spouse of Kevin McCarthy or Mitch McConnell, you know what Joe Biden would do? The first thing he would do is he would say, ‘Is he OK? Is she OK? Can I call her? If I can’t call her, can I call him? What do they need? What can we do for them?’”
“And if there was this crazy business of conspiracy theory pushing or just even inappropriate joking and laughing by anyone in the party, he would say, ‘Cut it out.’ And that’s exactly what Barack Obama would do,” she continued. “And I’ve seen them both do, and that’s not about political advantageous. You’re not trying to win political points in these moments. You’re just being a human being, and you’re doing what’s morally right.”
Hayes then discussed the founding fathers’ desire for virtue in leaders of the country, connecting that idea to appropriate behavior across party lines. Psaki agreed with his views that the recent conduct surrounding the attack on Pelosi trickles down from party leadership.
“I mean, if your leader, if someone you’re thinking about electing and voting for is laughing in the face of an 82-year-old being brutally attacked with a hammer, I mean, that should be the bar,” Psaki said. “That should be a question. Is that the person you want to be governor? You don’t want them to be your neighbor, your kids’ coach. Do you want them to be leading your state?”
Hayes then brought of Elon Musk’s involvement in the online dialogue about DePape’s attack. Psaki more broadly compared the muddied waters around the event to authoritarian regimes in Russia and China.
You can watch the full segment in the video above.