The strategy teams for top Republican officials have this odd public tic, of late, that we’ll call “Rubber vs. Glue.” Whenever Republicans like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, or others find themselves in hot water over something they have said or done, the agonizingly predictable response will be a public statement accusing someone else of the exact same thing, in the exact same words.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s camp has been having a bad few days due to the use of a prop gravestone with his political challenger’s name on it, and a photo in which young male “Team Mitch”-emblazoned supporters pretended to grope and choke a cardboard cutout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Both of these acts were condemned by their targets and could be seen, as pointed out by many many people, as calls to violence.
The Mitch campaign team’s response? A series of tweets claiming that it is their opponents who are staging “calls to violence.” In this case, they were referring to the use of a voodoo doll by angry protesters outside McConnell’s house.
This is 100% intended as response to the “tombstone” and “choking” events. The campaign was in hot water for continued crude rhetoric and imagery against its enemies, a possible “call to violence.” The response is to defend the actions of their allies while repeating the same, mirror-image accusations against the enemies. (While it was Mitch’s own campaign that has promoted the “graveyard of enemies” imagery and the “chokers” were decked out in official Team Mitch gear while rallying for Mitch at a much-venerated political shindig, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence the voodoo doll protesters were acting on behalf of a campaign. This rather central difference is, of course, ignored.)
It goes without saying that the White House uses this tactic the most often, with Trump and his (cough) “advisers” constantly taking phrases used against them and attempting to reinvent them, as with “fake news,” into identical charges against whoever’s peeved them.