Vandalism at the Nebraska Republican Party headquarters has set off a spat between a top Republican and a top Democrat.
Vandals threw a brick through a front window pane at the Nebraska GOP headquarters and wrote “ABOLISH ICE” in spray paint on the sidewalk in front of the building.
Nebraska Republican Party Executive Director Kenny Zoeller claimed while disappointing, the vandalism is unsurprising “given the increasingly radical rhetoric of national Democrat leaders and candidates like Jane Raybould, Kara Eastman, and Jane Kleeb.”
Zoeller, in a written statement, said, “Violence is the natural result of the Left’s statements urging Democrats to literally ‘push back’ on Republicans and ‘resist’ at any cost. Voters face a stark choice between sanity and the rabid, hateful words that sparked this vandalism.”
When asked about the statement and whether he was blaming Nebraska Democrats for the damage done at the headquarters near downtown Lincoln, Zoeller referred to Nebraska Democratic Party chair Jane Kleeb’s call for civil disobedience to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
“When you stand up in front of a pool of reporters in September of 2017, calling for civil disobedience, that was truly the opportunity to denounce this type of action and this type of rhetoric,” Zoeller told reporters at a news conference Tuesday outside the headquarters.
Kleeb had issued her own statement earlier on Tuesday, stating, “We condemn the violence and vandalism that happened at the Nebraska Republican Party. We want to remind citizens it is our duty to each other and to our country to debate, stand up for issues and to help people. We never stand for violence.”
Kleeb said her reaction after the Public Service Commission hearings on Keystone XL, cited by Zoeller, has nothing to do with the vandalism at the GOP headquarters.
“To pretend that myself, farmers and ranchers, Native Americans who’ve been fighting Keystone XL for the past decade in our state have ever been violent is not only ridiculous, but goes against the very call to civility that the Republicans are making right now,” Kleeb told Nebraska Radio Network in a telephone interview.
Kleeb suggested a way to tone down the rhetoric would be for Democrats and Republicans to appear together at public events, such as policy forums or community service projects.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]