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Eric Holder's rallying cry for Democrats: 'When they go low, we kick 'em'

·Senior Editor
·3 min read
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So much for the high road.

A growing number of Democratic politicians have decided that Michelle Obama’s rallying cry, “When they go low, we go high,” won’t cut it in the age of Donald Trump.

Campaigning for Democrats in Georgia over the weekend, former Attorney General Eric Holder took issue with the former first lady’s ethical entreaty.

“Michelle says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No, no. When they go low, we kick ’em,” Holder told his audience to applause. “That’s what this new Democratic Party is about. We’re proud as hell to be Democrats. We’re willing to fight for the ideals of the Democratic Party. We’re proud of our history. We’re proud of our present, and we’re proud of the future that we can create for this country. And we’re not in this just to make a statement — we’re in this to win.”

Minutes later, Holder qualified his remarks.

“Now, when I say, you know, we kick ’em, I don’t mean we do anything inappropriate,” Holder said. “We don’t do anything illegal, but we got to be tough.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder at the swearing-in of Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Former Attorney General Eric Holder at the swearing-in of Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala. (Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Holder’s comments came one day after Hillary Clinton made headlines by dismissing calls for political civility with the Republican party.

“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 on 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.”

One of the leading proponents of going toe-to-toe with Trump’s bellicose rhetoric is Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti, who has expressed interest in running for president as a Democrat in 2020.

“When they go low, I say, we hit harder,” Avenatti told a crowd in Iowa in August, adding, “I believe that our party, the Democratic Party, must be a party that fights fire with fire.”

Back in March, prospective 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden upped the ante on aggressive language when he mused that he would have “beat the hell out” of Trump if the two men had attended high school together.

“A guy who ended up becoming our national leader said, ‘I can grab a woman anywhere, and she likes it,'” Biden said at a rally against sexual assault at the University of Miami. “They asked me if I’d like to debate this gentleman, and I said ‘no.’ I said, ‘If I were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.'”

Biden later apologized for the remark, but Avenatti, who has been locked in a war of words with Donald Trump Jr., has offered to hop into the ring with the president’s son for a three-round, mixed martial arts charity fight. In a tweet posted Tuesday, Avenatti suggested donating proceeds to an anti-sexual violence organization and to the rebuilding effort in Puerto Rico.

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President Trump revels in such taunts and regularly recounts Biden’s quip at rallies, bragging that the former vice president would “go down fast and hard, crying all the way.”

While there is no shortage of debate in Democratic circles about how best to take on Trump in the midterm elections and in 2020, the president shows no qualms about endorsing a scorched-earth approach.

At rallies over the past week, Trump has portrayed Democrats as “an angry mob” and “the party of crime.” He told a rally in Minnesota that the “Dems are willing to do anything, to hurt anyone, to get the power they so desperately crave.”

A few days later he was in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he stood by, smirking, while his audience chanted “lock her up” at the mention of Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

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