Sen. Coons: 'I Do Think That We Are at Risk of a Season of Political Violence in This Country'

( – Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said on Sunday he thinks we could see “a season of political violence in this country” if both sides don’t cool down their rhetoric.

While Democrats accuse former President Donald Trump of inciting violence on January 6, 2021, Republicans accuse Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of crossing a line when he went to the steps of the Supreme Court in March 2020 and warned two sitting Supreme Court Justices — Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch — “you have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful (abortion) decisions.”

“So here’s a key distinction,” Coons told “Fox News Sunday.”

“What Senator Schumer was saying was that he was upset. He was alarmed, he was concerned at the prospect that justices would reverse decades of a well-established fundamental constitutional right in our country. What he did not say was let’s go attack them.

“The point of the January 6th hearing is to prove that that is in fact what President Trump did, that he, in the words of Congresswoman Cheney, summoned the mob, stirred up the mob and then lit the fuse that sent them storming the Capitol of the United States.

“I do think there’s a distinguishable difference between what we just heard from Senator Schumer and the actions taken by former President Trump and his circle of advisors in the days before January 6th.

“And the results were clear and I think catastrophic. The physical assault of officers that led to several officer deaths and the shattering of the Capitol perimeter.

“Frankly, as one of the members of the Senate who had to be escorted out along with the vice president by Capitol police just feet ahead of an angry mob, I do think that we are at risk of a season of political violence in this country, and all of us should reduce the temper and level of our rhetoric.”

Host Bret Baier asked Coons if he has any problem with Schumer’s rhetoric:

“What I just said, Bret, was I think all of us need to reduce the level of our rhetoric — and be mindful of the fact that stirring up potential violence is not a good or constructive thing to be doing at this moment in our country by any political leader.”


In that same interview, Coons said if the Supreme Court does overturn Roe v. Wade, as a leaked draft opinion suggests it will do, “there will be understandable anger across the nation.”

“But we need to make sure that all appropriate actions are being taken to ensure the safety of members of our federal judiciary, including Supreme Court justices,” said Coons, who sponsored a bill passed by the Senate to extend security to the staff and families of Supreme Court justices.

The House has not yet taken up the bill.

“We got the bill unanimously through the United States Senate,” Coons said:

“The House is working to add a provision that would allow the marshal of the Supreme Court to decide to extend protection to staff and families of staff of the Supreme Court. I think that’s appropriate, that’s an acceptable compromise.

“More than anything, I think the House needs to take it up and pass it early next week. And I’m optimistic after several conversations with House leadership that they will.

“Frankly, as you also referenced in the introduction, Bret, the January 6th hearing that just took place was a riveting reminder of the dangers of politically motivated violence in our country. And the gun massacres, the shootings that happened at a grocery store in Buffalo and at an elementary school in Uvalde, are also a call to action.

“And I’m grateful to be working with Senator Cornyn as a part of a broad bipartisan group that’s working to address mental health and gun safety as well.”

Asked if the people protesting outside the homes of conservative justices should be arrested, Coons said, “We have to strike the right balance here between protecting freedom of speech in this country and ensuring that our justices and judges are safe.

“We passed a bill through the Senate months and months ago that would also provide further protections obscuring the addresses, for example, of justices and judges. That’s something we took up in the wake of a horrifying attack on the family of a federal court judge in New Jersey where her son was killed.

“I do think we need to take stronger action to make sure that our federal judiciary is safe because that’s part of making sure our democracy is safe, which really is the core issue of the January 6th hearings, is how do we make sure that the fundamentals of our democracy, the safety and security of Congress, the peaceful transfer of power, and I would also at the safety and security of our federal judiciary is insured. We should act.”

Coons also defended President Joe Biden, who has not publicly condemned the recent threat made on the life of Justice Kavanaugh:

“Bret, the president has repeatedly spoken out against politically motivated violence in our country, the risk of politically motivated violence in our country.

“And as you well know, presidents often speak more through their press secretaries to events of the day. I certainly have denounced this latest threat against Justice Kavanaugh.

“But it’s important that we remember there are threats of political violence of many kinds and types. Folks who are watching this morning who didn’t watch the January 6th hearing should take a few moments and review what Congresswoman Liz Cheney, an unimpeachable he conservative from Wyoming, had to say in her opening statement.

“I think there are risks of political violence we should all be speaking out against and acting to ensure we control, manage, and reduce.”


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