The chairmen of the Democratic and Republican congressional campaign committees called on Americans from opposite sides of the aisle to “come together” in the wake of a mass shooting and bomb threats last week.
Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, the National Republican Congressional Committee chair, and New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair, said in a joint interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that political rhetoric across the country needs to be kept civil.
“We all bear some responsibility, and we need to try to clean up our act and try to bring more civility to our Congress, and frankly, to our dialogue,” Stivers said.
“It’s not too much to expect leaders to bring us together, to unite our country, to find a way to reach out to us, to our greater good, and make sure that we rise above all of the accusations, the hate and finger-pointing,” said Lujan.
Both agreed that they can work together in Congress on such things as lowering prescription drug costs and funding infrastructure development.
“We need to listen to each other, no matter who takes the majority,” Stivers said, adding that he thought the GOP could hold onto the House majority. “It will be a razor-thin majority and hopefully that will mean people will come together — Republicans and Democrats — to get things done.”
While both congressmen called for civility, their joint interview was not without a few jabs. Stivers accused the DCCC of running “sleezy” ads and not pulling support for candidates who he claimed have made bigoted comments, while Lujan accused the NRCC of running “racist” ads in several states.
Stivers admitted that personal attacks happen on both sides, adding, “We both need to figure out how to clean things up.”
Lujan said that both the NRCC and DCCC should begin to look at how they operate for the remainder of the 2018 election cycle and in the future.
Their interview, however, ended with agreement.
“On all sides … everyone should monitor the tone here,” Lujan said. “No more finger-pointing. Let’s make sure that we look within ourselves and we find the greater good there.”
“I agree, but let’s both look within ourselves,” Stivers said.
“Amen to that, Steve,” Lujan said.
This week, authorities intercepted more than a dozen suspected explosive packages intended for top Democratic officials and several Trump critics. On Saturday, 11 people were killed in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in what authorities are calling a hate crime. The suspected gunman allegedly made anti-Semitic statements after his arrest, according to a criminal complaint, as well as on social media before carrying out the attack.