Two Republicans running for state office in Minnesota were subjected to physical assaults recently. State Rep. Sarah Anderson was slugged in the arm last week when she confronted a male suspect who was destroying Republican yard signs. She told the Washington Free Beacon, “It was just insane. He was charging at me, saying, ‘Why don’t you go kill yourself?'” She added, “To have someone physically coming after you and attacking you is just disheartening.”
Another Republican, Shane Mekeland, was sucker punched in the face and suffered a concussion on Friday weekend while he was meeting with constituents at a restaurant in Benton County. Mekeland blacked out when he hit the floor. Expressing shock, Mekeland told the Free Beacon that this “new norm” is not what he signed up for. He has since suffered memory loss and now contends with sensitivity to light. He also displayed dismay that Democrats have not strongly condemned the attack.
Police have identified suspects of interest in both incidents. Charges will be filed this week. On Facebook, the Benton County Sheriff's department declared: "Mekeland reported that he was at a bar and restaurant in St. George Township on 10-12-18 between about 9:00 pm and 10:00 pm," adding, "Mekeland reported that he and this man were having an amiable conversation, until it ended abruptly when the man apparently took offense to a statement Mekeland made concerning the 'middle class.'" The statement went on to say, "The suspect in this case was identified and has been interviewed. The investigation into this matter is still ongoing. Because the suspect has not been arrested or charged with a crime, his name is not available to be released at this time."
Republicans are asking Democrats to tone down their rhetoric, which the GOP believes is contributing to a hate-filled environment and “mob rule.” The recent assaults occurred a few days after the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party suspended a staff member for just one week for writing in a Facebook post that Democrats would “bring [Republicans] to the guillotine” in the mid-term elections.
Last Thursday, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke in reference to loud-mouthed protesters who descended on the Supreme Court during Senate hearings on President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The Kentucky Republican said, “Only one side was happy to play host to this toxic fringe behavior.” McConnell went on to say: “Only one side’s leaders are now openly calling for more of it. They haven’t seen enough. They want more. And I’m afraid this is only Phase One of the meltdown.”
Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said that Senator Cory Booker’s (D., N.J.) call to constituents to “get up in the face of” Republicans could be misinterpreted by the mentally ill. In a radio interview, Paul said last week, “I really worry that someone is going to be killed and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation.” Paul said about Democrats: “They have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence.”
“I think what people need to realize, that when people like Cory Booker say, ‘Get up in their face,’ he may think that that’s OK,” said Paul, “But what he doesn’t realize is that for about every 1,000th person that might want to get up in your face, one of them is going to be unstable enough to commit violence.” Paul was present last year when Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) who shot and severely wounded at a baseball park in suburban Washington D.C. Paul was later attacked at his home and injured. In both cases, the assailants were affiliated with Democrats.