News & Politics

Nebraska Dem. Official on Scalise: 'I'm Glad He Got Shot ... I Wish He Was F*cking Dead'

Nebraska Dem. Official on Scalise: 'I'm Glad He Got Shot ... I Wish He Was F*cking Dead'
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., the newly elected House GOP whip, joined at right by Rep. Steve Womack, R-Ark., meets with reporters at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 15, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Nebraska Democratic Party fired an official on Thursday after his remarks about last week’s shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) went public. The staffer was recorded saying he was glad Scalise got shot and wished the congressman had died.

“His whole job is to get people, convince Republicans to f*cking kick people off f*cking health care. I’m f*cking glad he got shot,” Phil Montag, volunteer co-chairman of the Democratic Party’s technology committee, said during a private meeting, Fox 42 reported. “I’m not going to f*cking say that in public.”

The comments came in a meeting with the Democratic Party’s Black Caucus chairwoman, Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, and a friend of hers, Destin Madison, the Associated Press reported. Montag later added, “I wish he was f*cking dead.”

Madison told Montag on the tape that he had secretly recorded the conversation and planned to publicize them.

Montag told the Omaha World-Herald that he was “horrified” by the shooting of Scalise and that he “absolutely” did not wish the congressman dead. He argued that the recording had been edited to take his words out of context.

“I did not call for the congressman’s death,” the former staffer said. “Like every decent American I am saddened and horrified by the shooting of Congressman Scalise. I did not and do not wish for his death. I am hopeful that the entirety of the original, unedited recording will emerge so we can get to the truth of the matter.”

Even so, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Kleeb fired him immediately upon hearing the recording. “This is the first I am hearing this,” Kleeb told the World-Herald. “As soon as I heard it, I sent it to the (party) officers and then sent an email to Phil Montag informing him that I am removing him from his appointed position.”

“Wishing a Member of Congress or any individual dead is disgusting and has no place in our party,” Kleeb declared. She also said she reported the conversation to police because she viewed Montag’s remarks as a possible death threat.

Gentry-Tipton, the chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party Black Caucus and to whom Montag reportedly made the comments, came under fire last week for joking about the shooting on Facebook. “Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?” Gentry-Tipton posted, according to Fox 42.

“Hard to be empathetic towards those that have no empathy for us,” she commented in another post. “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”

In a separate post, Gentry-Tipton added that she didn’t condone the shooting or find it funny. In comments to the World-Herald, Montag said he visited Gentry-Tipton to console her during the fallout after her comments, but said that she and Madison were trying to use the recording to blackmail him into posting a public statement supporting her.

The Nebraska Republican Party issued a statement denouncing Montag and Gentry-Tipton’s comments as “completely reprehensible and disappointing.”

Scalise was shot lost Wednesday, at a practice for the congressional baseball game. He remains in the hospital, but his condition has been upgraded from “critical” to “fair.” The shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, a Bernie Sanders supporter with a hit list of Republicans who liked the terror-linked Southern Poverty Law Center (which repeatedly attacked Scalise as a white supremacist), was shot and killed.

After the shooting, Democrats initially showed support for Scalise, even praying for him. But in the week since, the legacy media has dropped the story, and the Left has attacked and mocked Scalise, not even willing to wait until he fully recovers.

Conservatives have argued that liberal rhetoric denouncing the Right for violence and “hate” has contributed to this violence, as Hodgkinson’s political persuasion (and an attack on the Family Research Council in 2012 inspired by the SPLC’s “hate map”) suggests. A professor even attacked white people as “inhuman a**holes,” sharing a story urging black people to “let them f*cking die.”

Indeed, following Democrat Jon Ossoff’s defeat in the Georgia 6 special election Tuesday, some liberals have been calling for even harsher rhetoric. Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, even tweeted, “One important lesson is that when they go low, going high doesn’t f**king work.”

Even so, Kleeb deserves to be recommended for her clear stance against violence in political rhetoric. Both the Left and the Right should denounce it.

“Violent comments about anyone whether they are an elected official or a kid on the street are unacceptable,” Kleeb told the AP. “The political rhetoric is so off the cliff of reality I fear where our body politic is headed.”

America’s sanity — and citizens’ safety — requires Democrats to be more like Kleeb than Tanden. In light of recent events, that’s a serious challenge.

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