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Rick Scott calls Paul Pelosi attack ‘disgusting’ but refuses to condemn election conspiracies

In a Sunday interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) denounced the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as “disgusting” and “horrifying” — but he refused to condemn the conspiracy theories about the US election that allegedly instigated the attacker.

Bash reminded Scott that the intruder bludgeoned Paul Pelosi with a hammer in his San Francisco home because he “adopted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election.” She prefaced her question — “Should Republicans do more to dismiss” these theories — with a recent clip from President Joe Biden.

“It’s one thing to condemn violence, but you can’t condemn violence unless you condemn these people who keep claiming the election wasn’t real, that it’s stolen, that all the bullshit that are broadcast to undermine democracy,” Biden told reporters on Saturday.

Scott agreed that “we need to condemn the violence,” but quickly pivoted to urge colleagues and constituents that “we need to do everything we can…to make sure people feel comfortable about these elections,” alluding to the November 8 midterm elections.

“We need to do everything we can to let people know that this election in nine days will be free and fair, that people’s votes will all be counted fairly, that they won’t be diluted,” Scott told Bash. “I tried to…get people to make sure we’re ready.”

Bash reminded Scott that most of his fellow Republicans, including those who were in Donald Trump’s White House, agreed that the 2020 presidential election was fair. She said it apparently didn’t stop inspiring individuals, such as assault suspect David DePape, whose social media accounts were full of right-wing conspiracy theories, and she asked Scott if it was important for the senator to curb this insidious rhetoric.

“I think what’s important is that everyone does everything they can to make this election fair,” Scott replied. “We have Hillary Clinton says the 2024 election is going to be stolenwe have Stacey Abrams saying she didn’t lose so my job is [to] do everything I can to make people feel comfortable that these elections are fair.

DePape, 42, is accused of attacking Paul Pelosi, 82, at his home early Friday, beating him with a hammer and causing him a fractured skull and other serious injuries. He demanded to know where his wife was and attempted to tie up Pelosi until he returned, but was arrested after Paul Pelosi surreptitiously called 911 and police arrived amid the attack. Nancy Pelosi was out of town, accompanied by her security detail.

Scott said his “heart goes out to Paul Pelosi” and that violent extremism “must stop,” but he refused to consider his own party’s rhetoric influencing people like DePape, who appeared to share QAnon memes in line on COVID-19 vaccines and the stolen 2020 presidential election.

Instead, Scott urged viewers to stay alert, a directive that could also fuel their paranoia.

“I tell people to get out to vote, to be a poll watcher, and when we get the chance, let’s make our election laws safer,” Scott told Bash. “Let’s make sure you have a voter ID card, that you have no ballot collection, that you have monitored the ballot boxes. It makes people more comfortable that the elections are going to be fair.

Watch the full interview on CNN.

The Huffington Gt

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