By now, most of you have seen the sickening right-wing memes suggesting that the survivors of a horrific mass shooting at a Florida high school are “crisis actors” trotted out to make the case for gun control. Well, on Wednesday, a Republican congresswoman from New York peddled an equally outrageous line. She thought the media is missing a significant fact about mass shootings–most of the perps are Democrats.
Claudia Tenney represents New York’s 22nd District, which takes in Utica, Rome, Ithaca, Binghamton, and some more rural territory in central New York and the Southern Tier. It’s a classic Yankee Republican district, though it has largely resisted New York state’s swing to the Democrats since the turn of the millennium. Historically, it elects moderate Republicans. However, Tenney is a no-questions-asked conservative; indeed, when she served in the New York State Assembly from 2011 to 2017, she was recognized as the most conservative member of the chamber.
When fellow Republican Richard Hanna retired in 2016, Tenney won by seven points, riding the coattails of Donald Trump winning the district by a punishing 55-39 margin. However, mainly due to this district’s Yankee Republican pedigree, she faces a credible Democratic challenger in state assemblyman Anthony Brindisi.
Apparently Tenney didn’t get the memo, because lately she’s been acting like she represents a district in rural Mississippi or Texas rather than upstate New York. For instance, she seems to think the furor over Rob Porter is a lot of fuss over nothing.
But Tenney really stepped in it on Wednesday morning, when she had a chat with longtime New York political commentator Fred Dicker on WGDJ in Albany. The conversation turned to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Tenney, a staunch opponent of gun control, feared that the shooting could potentially give gun control opponents a chance to target legal gun owners, even though “they have the least amount of crimes of any demographic.”
Dicker replied that most legal gun owners tend to be white, while most gun-related crimes are committed by minorities in “the inner cities.” Tenney lapped it up.
“Yeah, well, obviously there is 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 the media doesn’t talk about that either.”
Wow. Since when should we be asking about the political persuasion of a mass shooter? Yeah, sure, Nikolas Cruz was a chest-beating Trump supporter. But it shouldn’t matter–a nut with a gun is a nut with a gun, regardless of political shade.
When asked for clarification by CNN, Tenney claimed that she was merely blowing off steam about “the media and liberals attempting to politicize tragedies and demonize law-abiding gun owners and conservative Americans every time there is a horrible tragedy.” Um, Claudia? How is suggesting that most mass shooters are Democrats any different?
Brindisi let Tenney have it on Twitter.
First, @RepTenney said Democrats are un-American. Now this. This toxic rhetoric is shameful and a new low even for Ms. Tenney. Inserting politics into a national tragedy is beyond the pale & disgusting. She should apologize now to spare our region any more national embarrassment. https://t.co/o85LNfoufP
— Anthony Brindisi (@ABrindisiNY) February 21, 2018
Brindisi was referring to Tenney calling Democrats “un-American” for not standing up and applauding Trump during the State of the Union address.
It’s not often that you see an elected official not named Trump loudly admit that he or she is manifestly unfit for office. We may have witnessed it on Wednesday. Tenney apparently forgets that Yankee Republicans aren’t as inclined toward this kind of idiocy. This district deserves better. And with Anthony Brindisi, they’ll get better. Send him some love here.
(featured image courtesy Tenney’s Facebook)