The White House on Wednesday expressed shock at the arrest of a former GOP candidate in New Mexico in connection with shootings targeting the homes of state Democratic officials, calling it an illustration of the dangers of conspiracies and political violence.
“The allegations here are shocking and horrifying, and it’s a miracle here no one was hurt,” said press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “The president has spoken out repeatedly and emphatically about how our nation rejects violence as a political tool. That is a bedrock principle of our democracy.”
Jean-Pierre called on leaders in both parties to “reject lies and conspiracies,” noting that the New Mexico incident was the latest instance in a string of political violence in recent years.
“This administration has also emphasized the dangerous ways in which conspiracy theories and disinformation can lead some individuals to violence,” Jean-Pierre said. “We urge leaders in both parties to reject lies and conspiracies.”
Albuquerque police on Tuesday arrested Solomon Peña, a former Republican candidate for state legislature, in connection with the shootings at the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two state legislators. Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said that Peña was the “mastermind” who orchestrated all of the shootings, which took place between Dec. 4, 2022, and Jan. 4.
Police said that these shootings were “politically motivated” and that Peña was an “election denier.”
The New Mexico shootings are part of a broader trend of political violence in the U.S. in recent years. Some of the highest-profile incidents include a 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball game practice that left House Minority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) seriously injured; the mailing of explosives to major Democrats and media figures in 2018; the storming of the Capitol in 2021 by rioters trying to stop the certification of President Biden’s election victory; and the attack in October 2022 on Paul Pelosi, husband of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), at their home.
Source: The Hill