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Republican Lawmakers Blame 'Both Sides' for Anti-LGBTQ+ Violence

Rep. Hice and Rep. Comer
Republican Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia (left) and Rep. James Comer of Kentucky.

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers acted shocked that months of the GOP's anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric led to acts of violence against the same community.


At a Wednesday U.S. House Oversight Committee hearing on anti-LGBTQ+ hate, Republican lawmakers demonstrated that instead of listening to the community's concerns, they would continue to use that community as pawns while arguing that "both sides" are responsible for bias-related violence.

Rather than engaging with the powerful testimony from survivors of the Club Q and Pulse mass shootings and LGBTQ+ rights advocates who were called to testify about the exponential rise in anti-LGBTQ hatred and violence, Republicans deflected from the topic of the hearing, instead trying to paint Democrats as the party of crime.

Failing to address the topic at hand, in his introduction, U.S. Rep. James Comer of Kentucky asserted that Democrats were playing political games blaming Republicans for attacks on LGBTQ+ communities when, according to him, Democrats are responsible for a rise in crime in "Democrat-controlled cities."

The lawmaker from Kentucky went on to proclaim that his "thoughts and prayers" were with the Club Q victims and their loved ones.

"No one should have to experience what you all have experienced," Comer began. "Let me state clearly, as we have consistently said. Republicans condemn violence in all forms. Unfortunately, Democrats are using committee time and resources today to blame Republicans for this horrendous crime. This is not an oversight hearing. This is a blame Republicans, so we don't have to take responsibility for our own defund the police and soft on crime policies."

Comer is no friend to LGBTQ+ people. He's received zeroes on the Human Rights Campaign's Congressional Scorecard throughout his tenure, which began in 2017, and he once sent a bizarre text message in which he called a fellow Republican, political consultant Tres Watson, "Gay Watson." He won reelection in November in a race where he faced an out Democrat, Jimmy Ausbrooks.

Georgia U.S. Rep. Jody Hice, a Republican, pivoted to a false both-sides argument, deflecting the blame put on right-wing extremists.

"We are hearing a lot about right-wing extremism and violence," Hice said. "Obviously, violence of any type is poison, as is left-wing violence and that which is the fuel that is thrown on the fire by left-wing media. It goes on both sides."

"What happened at Club Q is a tragedy that should never ever happen in the United States," Hice continued. "I think it's a shame that once again here we are in this committee as the majority is heading out the door, this committee's responsibility to deal with federal government oversight continues to be ignored."

The lawmaker accused Democrats of holding the hearing in "an attempt to blame Republicans for the horrendous acts of violence."

Hice went on with a straw man argument about anti-Semitism and mean things some have said about members of the Trump administration, including "tell them they're not welcome anymore, anywhere."

According to Hice, it's not the constant litany of anti-LGBTQ+ remarks and legislation by GOP and Republican-aligned extremists that is a danger to American society. Instead, in his opinion, comments critical of the former president's administration "should not be allowed either."

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