Political canvasser Christopher Monzon was assaulted in Hialeah on Oct. 24 and Sen. Marco Rubio claimed he was assaulted for being a Republican. However, the police report indicates there was no political motivation, which directly contradicts the senator’s claims.
In a period of high tensions surrounding politics, Rubio can’t continue to preach false claims to an already fired up base of voters. This behavior could ultimately lead to an increase in violence against the opposing party.
On Oct. 23, Monzon was assaulted by two men, leaving him with internal bleeding, a broken jaw and in need of reconstructive surgery, according to an Oct. 10 news report from Local 10.
Rubio tweeted on Oct. 24 about the attack, implying the motive was because of Monzon’s political standing.
He suffered internal bleeding, a broken jaw & will need facial reconstructive surgery pic.twitter.com/36QpbySg58
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) October 24, 2022
Sgt. Jose Torres of Hialeah said the assault committed by the two men had no political motivation, according to an Oct. 25 interview with ABC 10. Police officials stated that Monzon entered one of the suspects lawns and the confrontation escalated to the assault.
Following the investigation, social media was quick to identify Monzon from past arrests related to white supremacist organizations in 2017. Rubio has yet to acknowledge Monzon’s criminal history being made public, prematurely spreading misinformation behind the victim and potentially causing further harm.
Monzon faced charges of aggravated assault, inciting a riot and disorderly conduct after assaulting protestors with a confederate flag, according to an Oct. 28 report released by CBS Miami. Monzon was also a member of neo-Confederate hate group League of the South according to reports made by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Politicians from both parties have condemned the attacks, but Rubio began to blame political opponents for their criticism of the victim’s controversial history. When directly asked if he knew about Monzon’s criminal record, Rubio deflected.
“I think it’s shameful that you’re focused on the victim and not on the aggressors. Do you know anything about the attackers? Do you have any questions on the attackers who are career criminals,” Rubio said in an interview on Oct. 28.
With his response to reporters’ questions, it makes it clear Rubio had knowledge of Monzon’s criminal record and knew of his affiliations with known white supremacist organizations but masked that knowledge in order to paint him as an innocent victim of a horrific crime.
Rubio is using the attack on Monzon to push the claim that Republicans are under attack in America. This sends a dangerous message to an already hostile voter base, that violence is the answer to political differences.
This same effect has seen an increase following the 2020 election, according to a 2022 survey released by Forbes. Of the sample provided, 64% of respondents think political violence in the U.S. will increase over the next few years, up from 57% in December 2021 and 51% in January 2021.
Violence like this was put on display Jan. 6, 2021, where a mob of supporters for former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building. It was a barbaric attempt to stop the confirmation of President Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 election, according to a timeline of events released by NPR on June 9.
The main cause behind this attack was Trump’s claim of election fraud after continuing to say he won the 2020 election, as found by law enforcement officials such as FBI Director Christopher Wray.
An echoing cry members of the Insurrection said such as the QAnon Shaman Jacob Anthony Chansley claiming in a Nov. 17 interview, how Trump had called to his followers to storm the capital. Rubio has a massive following being one of Florida’s two senators, and we saw what Trump did with his own followers.
We are in a new age of politics and voters alike, but when a politician like Rubio spreads false information claiming that Monzon was attacked for being Republican, people can take those words and use them to commit horrific crimes against someone else. Words can lead to extreme violence, like the events that occurred on Jan. 6, 2021.
Violence on either side is unacceptable, but to use such violence to ignite more tension can only lead to more chaos during an already hostile election year.