“There have been more threats against elected officials. It’s been documented that I’ve received a few,” Schumer said during his Spectrum News NY1 debate against Republican rival Joe Pinion.
“We have to calm the rhetoric down,” he said at Union College in Schenectady, “and condemn violence where it occurs.”
But Pinion slammed Schumer for using divisive rhetoric and encouraging violence against two conservative Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. Schumer had said in March 2020 the justices would “pay the price” if they voted to restrict abortion rights.
“There is only one person on this stage whose rhetoric has quite literally driven an American to the doorstep of a Supreme Court justice to kill him. That was Chuck Schumer,” Pinion said.
“It is Chuck Schumer’s whose divisive rhetoric has led to the environment we see today.”
Schumer said at the time, “‘You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You will not know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.”
The senator backtracked after facing public condemnation from Chief Justice John Roberts and GOP lawmakers, saying he was talking about a political backlash.
Schumer said Sunday night, “The words I used that day were probably the wrong choice of words. I said that then and I say that now.”
But he insisted that “I have never advocated violence in any way. Never have, never do, never will.”
Schumer, a former congressman, is running for a fifth term.
Pinion, a former conservative TV commentator, also said the media has a “greater responsibility” to promote civil discourse and discourage heated rhetoric and condemn hatred and violence.
Schumer said, “thank God” that Paul Pelosi is expected to make a “full recovery” after speaking several times to Speaker Pelosi.