Republican House Minority Whip Steve Scalise said Sunday morning that President Donald Trump’s rhetoric was not to blame for the mass shooting in El Paso on August 8.
While on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Rep. Scalise told host Margaret Brennan that, “There is no place for those kind of attacks and attacking people based on their ethnicity, but to try the assign blame to somebody else I think is a very slippery slope,” after Brennan asked Scalise if the president’s anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric inspired the mass shooting in El Paso that left 22 people dead.
Scalise continued, “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.”
Rep. Scalise was severely wounded after a gunman opened fire on a congressional baseball practice in 2017. The perpetrator of the shooting was a supporter of Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and volunteered for Sanders’ campaign during the 2016 election.
Rep. Scalise again defended Trump after Brennan asked if the president should reconsider his rhetoric that, “many in the Hispanic community consider inflammatory.”
“Well, first of all, the president was very clear just the other day that there is no place for this. He spoke out against racism. He spoke out against these kinds of attacks. And so to try to assign blame, go look at some of these presidential candidates who made some of the most ridiculous statements,” Scalise said. (RELATED: Donald Trump Condemns White Supremacy After Mass Shooting In El Paso, Texas And Dayton, Ohio)
“I know they’re running for president and they might not like Donald Trump’s view, but stop this ridiculous assessment of blame to somebody other than the person who is responsible,” Scalise added.
Many Democrats, including several Democratic presidential candidates, blamed Trump’s anti-illegal immigrant rhetoric for the shooting, saying that the president empowers white supremacy and encourages violent attacks on Hispanic citizens. (RELATED: Beto Says That Attacks Like El Paso Will Happen Again As Long As Trump Is In Office)
The El Paso shooter posted a manifesto online before the shooting that said his attack was a response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”