Republican hypocrisy on gun control has reached new heights in the wake of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida last week. This time some members of the GOP aren’t content to simply mouth their usual “thoughts and prayers” line and say that any attempt to discuss gun control is “too soon” while the families and friends are still grieving and would be politicizing the tragedy.
With the surviving students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School making it perfectly clear that they will not accept continued inaction in finding solutions to gun violence, Republicans are now finding that politicizing the tragedy is exactly what they want to do, but only in support of the NRA anti-gun control agenda that the lobbying organization paid them to defend.
Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R-NY) took the politicization of gun violence to a whole new level today in her comments on a podcast she was appearing on, according to Roll Call. Discussing the school shootings in Parkland, Rep. Tenny said:
“Obviously, there’s a lot of politics in it. And it’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats, but we don’t want to, the media doesn’t talk about that either.”
Now that we know that the gunman in the Parkland shootings, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, was a MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporter who attended an NRA-funded marksmanship class, it’s apparent that Rep. Tenney must be discussing other mass murders.
A 2017 report by the conservative Cato Institute, however, completely disproves the congresswoman’s claims, showing that during the period from 1992-2017 there were 219 deaths attributable to right-wing and nationalist perpetrators and only 23 due to violence from left-wing killers.
That’s nearly 10 times as many people killed by right-wing terrorists than leftists, and while political party affiliation isn’t mentioned in the study, it can generally be assumed that right-wing terrorists are not generally members of the Democratic party.
The only major shooting committed by someone affiliated with the left was the attack on Republican Congressmen at the Washington DC area baseball practice last summer that injured Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), but in which no one was killed.
One of Tenney’s potential opponents in the November mid-term elections called her out on her blatant lie.
“This toxic rhetoric is shameful coming from an elected official and is a new low even for Claudia Tenney,” NY state Rep. Anthony Brindisi said in a statement. “She has disrespected the office she holds. Inserting politics into a national tragedy is beyond the pale and disgusting. She should apologize immediately to spare our region any more national embarrassment.”
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called the comments “unhinged, shameful and disgusting.”
Having provided zero evidence to back up her claims, Rep. Tenney has not commented since the news of her remarks has spread. The first-term Congresswoman is considered particularly vulnerable in the mid-term elections, and her attempts to leverage a national tragedy into partisan self-interest may backfire badly come election day. Or at least we can hope.