Rep. Rodney Garcia of House District 52 (he is running for Senate District 26) posited a question during the Montana GOP Winter Kick-Off regarding the Constitution’s requirement to shoot or incarcerate socialists. The crowd laughed. The speaker to whom it was posited, former head of the Interior Department, shrugged it off as a joke. Representative Garcia smiled and shrugged as though he landed a good punchline and commandeered laughter from the crowd.
Democrats in the state have been having a melt-down regarding the remark, eager to paint conservatives as violent instigators of a potential socialist lynching. For most onlookers, it seems that Democrats complaining about a joke toward socialists doth protest too much as the line hit a little too close to home to a party increasingly indistinguishable for Soviet-style economic theory.
The line from Garcia has perhaps emboldened former Billings City council member, Chris Friedel, who filed Thursday for Senate District 26, to challenge the Republican Garcia.
Republicans in the House wrote an open letter rebuking Garcia and asking him to resign, who did not immediately claim it was a joke. The representative doubled-down on his claim, serious or not, to a reporter from Lee Montana. After several days of complaints, Lee insisted it was a joke and claimed he would not resign unless he felt obligated by God.
Garcia said in a letter to the press, “Plainly my statement, which, review of the event video by unbiased reporters would confirm, was a well received joke.”
He then conceded, “Though delivered and perceived as a joke, my statement was totally inappropriate. My voting record is 100% Pro-life and conforms to the [United] States Constitution which protects political beliefs and speech.”
The report of Garcia’s joke, whether legitimate or not, seems to have fallen upon some deaf ears who have had to tolerate almost constant jesting about the assassination of President Donald J. Trump. Montana Democrats or even Republican House leadership on not on record detesting an Illinois congressman’s intentional photoshopping of photos by his campaign depicting Trump’s assassination, the high-profile comments from Democrat presidential primary candidate, Kamala Harris joking about killing POTUS on Ellen, or The Atlantic journalist, Jemele Hill joking about assassinating the president. Granted, none of these comments were made at a Montana GOP event.
Outrage, for many, seems to be a one-way street.