The nation was rocked earlier this month by the Supreme Court’s leaked plans to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey… and some cities were rocked harder than others.
Citizens of Madison, Wisconsin, watched in horror after a pro-life nonprofit was targeted by arsonists on Sunday. The city’s police department confirmed the incident in a statement.
It left White House press secretary Jen Psaki suddenly flipping President Joe Biden’s official stance on the leak.
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“Early Sunday morning, our team began investigating a suspicious fire inside an office building on the city’s north side. It appears a specific non-profit that supports anti-abortion measures was targeted,” Madison Police Chief Shon Barnes said in a statement.
“Our department has and continues to support people being able to speak freely and openly about their beliefs. But we feel that any acts of violence, including the destruction of property, do not aid in any cause. We have made our federal partners aware of this incident and are working with them and the Madison Fire Department as we investigate this arson.”
The incident also sparked public statements from Democrat Gov. Tony Evers, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, and — in an about-face — Psaki.
Psaki tweeted Monday, “@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.”
She left out any explicit mention of the Madison attack by name, but she did mention violence and vandalism, two components of arson.
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Still, Psaki hasn’t always been so quick to condemn politically motivated “threats” to “personal safety.” As recently as last week, Psaki was changing the subject when fielding questions about this issue.
Take a look at Thursday’s exchange between Psaki and Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy, per the White House website —
Q: So, you guys had some time yesterday talking about what you think are the extreme wings of the Republican Party. Do you think the progressive activists that are now planning protests outside some of the justices’ houses are extreme?
MS. PSAKI: Peaceful protest? No. Peaceful protest is not extreme.
Q: But some of these justices have young kids. Their neighbors are not all public figures. So would the President think about waving off activists that want to go into residential neighborhoods in Virginia and Maryland?
MS. PSAKI: Peter, look, I think our view here is that peaceful protest — there’s a long history in the United States and the country of that. And we certainly encourage people to keep it peaceful and not resort to any level of violence.
Let me tell you what I was referring to and what the President was referring to yesterday.
Q: Not about yesterday, though — just about moving forward. These activists posted a map with the home addresses of the Supreme Court justices. Is that the kind of thing this President wants to help your side make their point?
MS. PSAKI: Look, I think the President’s view is that there’s a lot of passion, a lot of fear, a lot of sadness from many, many people across this country about what they saw in that leaked document. We obviously want people’s privacy to be respected. We want people to protest peacefully if they want to — to protest. That is certainly what the President’s view would be.
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Q: So he doesn’t care if they’re protesting outside the Supreme Court or outside someone’s private residence?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have an official U.S. government position on where people protest. I want it — we want it, of course, to be peaceful. And certainly, the President would want people’s privacy to be respected.
But I think we shouldn’t lose the point here: The reason people are protesting is because women across the country are worried about their fundamental rights that have been law for 50 years. Their rights to make choices about their own bodies and their own healthcare are at risk. That’s why people are protesting. They’re unhappy. They’re scared.
.@POTUS strongly believes in the Constitutional right to protest. But that should never include violence, threats, or vandalism. Judges perform an incredibly important function in our society, and they must be able to do their jobs without concern for their personal safety.
— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 9, 2022
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After Thursday, Psaki faced criticism for failing to condemn the protests. The New York Post ran a headline called, “Psaki won’t condemn abortion protests at justices’ homes or leak of draft ruling.”
She’s now taken a stand. It only took an apparent arson for her to do so.
We condemn violence and hatred in all forms, including the actions at Wisconsin Family Action in Madison last night. We reject violence against any person for disagreeing with another’s view.
Violence is not the way forward. Hurting others is never the answer.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) May 8, 2022
This attack is abhorrent and should be condemned by all. https://t.co/CGnPmMJUmo
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) May 8, 2022
The Horn editorial team