Before the murderer in Thursday’s mass shooting at The Capital newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland had even been identified, Fox News host Sean Hannity decided who he was going to blame for the five fatalities and multiple injuries: Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).
“You know, as I’ve always said, I mean honestly — I’ve been saying now for days that something horrible was going to happen because of the rhetoric,” Hannity said, as first reported by Media Matters for America. “Really, Maxine? You want people to create — ‘call your friends, get in their faces,’ and Obama said that too. ‘Get in their faces, call them out, call your friends, get protesters, follow them into restaurants and shopping malls,’ and wherever else she said.”
Hannity’s comments mirror other far-right conspiracy theorists like self-styled journalist Laura Loomer, who openly speculated if the unidentified shooter was a “supporter” of Waters.
I wonder if the shooter in Annapolis today is a supporter of @RepMaxineWaters… ☕️
— Laura Loomer (@LauraLoomer) June 28, 2018
The comments appear to stem from Waters’ call last week to “push back on” White House officials in public, especially when they are at restaurants, as seen with White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ recent experience in Virginia.
Waters has since been targeted by both officials and Trump supporters alike. Not only has she received death threats over the past week, but Trump said that Waters should be “careful what you wish for Max!” The Republican National Committee also prominently featured Waters in a recent ad about liberals becoming “unhinged.”
On Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that Waters had been forced to cancel her speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama due to a “very serious death threat”.
“There was one very serious death threat made against me on Monday from an individual in Texas,” Waters said in a statement. “[This] is why my planned speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama were cancelled this weekend.”
Law enforcement officials confirmed Thursday night that the suspect is a white male in his late 30s who carried out a targeted attack on The Capital.
This story has been updated with news that Rep. Waters has cancelled her speaking engagements in Texas and Alabama, as well the latest information regarding the suspected shooter.