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Eric Holder: ‘When They Go Low, We Kick Them’

Former Attorney General Eric Holder at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington, D.C., September 15, 2018. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Former attorney general Eric Holder called on his fellow Democrats Wednesday to reject Michelle Obama’s famous plea for civility in the face of personal attacks in favor of a more combative approach to politics.

“Michelle [Obama] always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them,” Holder told the crowd at a campaign event for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. “That’s what this new Democratic Party is about. We’re proud as hell to be Democrats, we’re going to fight for the ideals of the Democratic party . . . we’re in this to win.”

Holder’s sentiment echoes Hillary Clinton’s recent dismissal of the notion that civility is vital to the health of political discourse in the United States.

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about,” Clinton told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interview that aired Tuesday. “That’s why I believe. If we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again. But until then, the only thing that the Republicans seem to recognize and respect is strength.”

Citing Senator Cory Booker’s (D., N.J.) recommendation that Americans “get up in the face” of politicians they disagree with, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky expressed concern Tuesday about the potential for charged political rhetoric to spark violence.

“I really worry that someone is going to be killed and that those who are ratcheting up the conversation . . . they have to realize that they bear some responsibility if this elevates to violence,” Paul told a Kentucky radio station.

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