House members describe toxic animosity among lawmakers

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In interviews with more than a dozen members, Granthshala heard from Democrats and some Republicans who say things are as bad as they can remember, there is no sign that things will get better anytime soon, and fear and anxiety Not just coming from the members, but their families too.

Just last week, Democrats and two Republicans voted to condemn Representative Paul Goser, a Republican from Arizona, for posting an anime video depicting the murder of fellow member Rep. Initially, Gosar deleted the video, but he retweeted another tweet containing the video just an hour after he endured the highest form of reprimand a member of the House could receive.
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As he took his sentence in the Well of the House, he was surrounded by a group of aides coming to his rescue. His leadership never came out to scold him, only attacking the process Democrats were using.

Representative Lauren Boebert, a Republican from Colorado, defended Goser on the floor by calling some of her progressive Democratic allies “jihad squads,” a term she defended Friday for Granthshala.

“It’s shocking to me that Leader McCarthy will stand for eight and a half hours spouting misinformation about a bill for the American people and still not say a word about the atrocities of his own member who is putting up a video An ally who glorifies murder and threatens violence against the President of the United States,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean of Pennsylvania. “I don’t know where the next cellar is.”


All this is part of the challenge that members are now facing in the House, and some have chosen to retire rather than endure more harsh treatment.

On the outskirts of the House Chamber, metal detectors are still stationed at every door, as a reminder of the apprehensions that remained. And efforts to investigate the root cause of the January 6 attack have been politicized and opposed by most Republicans. Some have even underestimated whether the events of the day were so bad. It is a constant reminder for some members about the status of their workplace.

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“January 6 made things really bad. I was on the floor that day. It was a forever life-changing moment on a personal level, but it was also a moment that changed Congress,” Representative Cheri Bustos, Illinois One Democrat, told Granthshala. “It began with persistent lies that were not challenged and was escalated on January 6 to a member of Congress threatening the lives of friends and associates.”

In an interview with Representative John Garamendi, a Democrat from California, Garamendi’s wife Patricia could be heard answering with her husband in the background during the interview that yes, the threats were as bad as they ever were. Patricia Garamendi, who works closely with other Congressional wives on events and provides guidance on how to navigate Congress, agreed to speak with Granthshala for the story. He said that this is the most difficult time for the spouses of those members who care not only for their members of Congress, but also for their entire family.

“It took away a lot of the fun. Service is tough. The journey is tough and the issues are tough, but when you’re worried about your family, it gets tough,” she said. “I mean some kids are being taken to school.”

‘I’m not running again’

And those are just security threats. A massive fight over Covid-19 has only stirred up divisions. A handful of Conservative members routinely defy the Speaker of the House’s mandate to face masks, incurring thousands of dollars in fines, while some members publicly admit they are not being vaccinated.

Standing on the steps of the US House on Friday, Bustos told Granthshala that all the bitterness and lies influenced his decision not to run for re-election.

“My interns are down there,” he pointed out. “I always write them five pieces of advice and one of them is ‘Don’t take things personally.’ I’ve tried to live it in politics. This, you personally can’t help. All of this has contributed to the fact that I’m not running again. I want to love what I do. I want to love who I work with. I want to respect the people I work with and that has been compromised that I hope can be repaired at some point, but right now I have to Don’t think I can repair.”

Some concern members feel stems from bitter disagreements with the opposite party, while others say the spiral of toxicity has metastasized, even as members of the same party interact with each other. . For months, progressives and moderates in the Democratic Party battled over how to pass both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a Democrat-only bill to expand the social safety net. But divisions within their ranks threatened both bills and resulted in occasional public and personal manipulation.

“The toxin is spot-on,” said Representative Stephanie Murphy, a Democrat from Florida. “I think there’s a lot of dame-on-dame violence as well as Republican and Democratic divisions. I think it’s not conducive to a healthy legislative environment for allies to make these debates so personal and caustic.”

‘People here want thick skin’

In a series of interviews with Republicans, many blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for completely downplaying the division or setting the wrong tone when she announced that all members would be allowed to move to the House floor after the rebellion. Will need to walk through metal detectors for this.

“I believe it is the consolidation of power in the Speaker’s office in the House and the abuse of power by the Speaker as he has unilateral control and is completely silencing the voice of the minority and making it a complete Hiding behind Covid to do it,” Representative Kathy McMorris Rogers, a Republican from Washington state, told Granthshala.

Rep. Chip Roy, a Texas Republican who advocated certifying the Electoral College results before January 6, told Granthshala that part of the problem is that members haven’t moved on beyond January 6.

“People here need to get thick skin,” Roy said. “At some point here, you’re going to have to let some things roll.”

Asked whether he was including the rebellion among the things that people need to “roll over”, Roy said, “People here have to represent the people and do their job and do everything on the floor of the House.” There’s got to be a thick skin about not making something personal.”

‘I feel safe, but it’s incredibly worrying’

But for some members, the threats are too personal.

“Congressman Boebert refers to us on the floor of the House as the ‘Jihad Squad.’ What he does is empower and inspire those who want to harm us, to actually go and do that harm.” She’s spewing ‘jihad.’ “

Ocasio-Cortez, who was the subject of Goser’s anime video, told Granthshala last week that it’s sometimes impossible to separate the political from the personal, even if she’s tried to forge a relationship with some Republicans.

“It’s not just because they dislike me as a person. In fact, I’ve had many Republicans come up to me on the House floor and say ‘I tell people back home that unless I agree with you. ‘I think you are a very kind person.’ I had Republicans come up to me after the 6th, even one of them crying and with guilt for what happened,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “So for some … in public, it’s a performance. But it’s also personal because I can’t separate myself from my gender, I can’t separate myself from how I was born, so non His hatred of white men, his hatred of women hate me.”


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