Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) said President Donald Trump’s was no more responsible for the mass shooting in El Paso, TX than Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was for one of his supporters shooting a Republican baseball practice in 2017, which severely wounded Scalise.
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST OF CBS’S “FACE THE NATION”: We’ll have to wait for the fall to see what comes up. But I do want to ask you, because you’ve voiced some concern about tone and conversation about these killings in this country. In the case of El Paso, it is the largest anti-Latino attack this country has ever seen. The killer said that he went to a border town to kill Mexicans. Given this particular context, can you understand the sensitivity to language used by the president when he refers to migrants as “invading this country”?
SCALISE: Well, first of all, I- I- my heart breaks as everybody’s does when you see what happened. There’s no place for it, whether it’s somebody that’s racist that- that hates a certain ethnic group. There’s no place for those kind of attacks and attacking people based on- on their ethnicity. But to try to assign blame to somebody else I think is a very slippery slope because the president’s no more responsible for that shooting as your next guest, Bernie Sanders, is for my shooting. And he’s not, by the way, responsible, the shooter is responsible. What we need to do is find out those people that have slipped through the cracks, and we’ve seen it in shooting after shooting; Sutherland Springs, Charleston, even in Dayton. He had a hit list and a rape list and yet none of that was in the system. Let’s make sure these background check systems work properly and are rooting out the people that shouldn’t be able to legally purchase a gun but currently are because the system hasn’t worked.
BRENNAN: So, you have not advised the president to reconsider some of his words that many in the Hispanic community consider inflammatory?
SCALISE: Well, first of all, the president was very clear just the other day that there’s no place for this. He spoke out against racism, he spoke out against these kind of attacks. And so to try to assign blame, you know, go look at some of these presidential candidates who made some of the most ridiculous statements. I mean Joe Biden just said that he was vice president when the Parkland kids–
SCALISE: –came and met with him, he wasn’t vice president. You know, so some of these things that are being said are- are beyond ridiculous. I- I know they’re running for president, and they might not like Donald Trump’s views, but stop this- this ridiculous assessment of blame to somebody other than the person who’s responsible. And again, you know, just- just- you talk to- to other people who were motivators- look at the Dayton shooter and what his motivations were. Is anybody asking about that? Anybody from the left–
SCALISE: –who he was inspired by. There’s no right- there’s no place for it. The shooter’s–
BRENNAN: So you’re–
SCALISE: –responsible. Let’s try to identify these shooters in a better way which right now we’re working on doing let’s put more emphasis there.
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