In a new ad, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) shamelessly politicizes the June 14 shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in an attempt to burnish his Second Amendment credentials.
The ad begins with the sound of gunshots and raw audio from the 911 call that reported the June 14 shooting, which happened during a Republican congressional baseball team practice in suburban Virginia. Then, this text appears on the screen: “June 14: A Bernie Sanders supporter fires on Republican Congressmen.”
The ad goes on to portray Brooks — running in a crowded field to win next month’s Republican primary for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ old Senate seat — as a hero and staunch supporter of gun rights.
“Mo Brooks gives his belt as a tourniquet to help the wounded,” the text reads. “What’s the liberal media immediately ask?”
As inspirational music plays, the ad cuts to video of Brooks talking with journalists sometime after the shooting. A reporter asks him, “Congressman, does this change your views on the gun situation in America?”
“The Second Amendment right to bear arms is to help ensure that we always have a republic,” Brooks said. “So no, I’m not changing my position on any of the rights that we enjoy as Americans.”
Scalise’s chief of staff reacted to Brooks’ ad by tweeting, “This makes my stomach turn.”
The day of the shooting, while waiting at the hospital, I avoided the news/audio/video as much as possible. This makes my stomach turn.
— Brett Horton (@bretthhorton) July 24, 2017
While Brooks’ ad is especially brazen, he isn’t the first Republican to attempt to politicize Scalise’s shooting. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Republican members of Congress — including Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), and Rep. Steve King (R-IA)— blamed “political rhetorical terrorism” and Democrats’ “outrageous” criticisms of President Trump for inspiring the gunman, James Hodgkinson, who had posted a number of anti-Trump posts on social media and volunteered for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign.
Late last month, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) went as far as to say that in the wake of Scalise’s shooting, Trumpcare opponents should stop pointing out that losing health coverage leads to higher morality rates.
“We almost lost Steve that day. It was really close for about 48 hours there and he’s a really close friend of mine,” Ryan said. “Let’s all fight with respect and civility for the beliefs and causes we believe in, but let’s be civil with one another… and accusing people who are trying to solve a health care problem of trying to kill people is not having a civil debate.”
Less than two weeks ago, Scalise was rushed back to the hospital after he developed an infection.
— Rep. Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) July 13, 2017
He’s still hospitalized as this is published.