On Saturday, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), the House minority whip, responded to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who had advocated for a 70 percent top tax rate. When Ocasio-Cortez shot back, her supporters joked about assassinating Scalise, who nearly lost his life in the 2017 congressional baseball game shooting.
“Snipe his a**!” the popular satirical account Raandy tweeted, responding to Ocasio-Cortez. His tweet received 582 “likes” and 7 “retweets.”
Another chimed in, “she’s got better aim than James Hodgkinson, that’s for sure.” This tweet received 25 “likes.”
she's got better aim than James Hodgkinson, that's for sure
— matt to the future (@averybigbear) January 6, 2019
James Hodgkinson was the shooter who nearly killed Scalise in 2017. The congressman almost lost his life multiple times during and after the shooting.
“Raandy” is a satirical account that played a hoax on conservatives during the 2016 election by claiming to be a post office worker and ironically confessing to “ripping up absentee ballots that vote for Trump.” His tweet is clearly a joke, but the 2017 shooting is no laughing matter. Any of the 582 people who “liked” this message on Twitter might be inspired to actually carry out what Raandy so glibly jokes about.
Scalise himself called attention to these horrendous tweets, sharing a screenshot of them. “Hi [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez]. Happy to continue this debate on the Floor of the People’s House, but it’s clearly not productive to engage here with some of your radical followers,” he tweeted, with the hashtag “#StayClassy.”
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 6, 2019
The Twitter debate began when Scalise responded to Ocasio-Cortez’s admittedly “radical” proposal of a 70 percent top tax rate in order to combat climate change (to be fair, she did clarify that this would only apply to the top earners).
“Republicans: Let Americans keep more of their own hard-earned money,” Scalise tweeted. “Democrats: Take away 70% of your income and give it to leftist fantasy programs.”
Republicans: Let Americans keep more of their own hard-earned money
Democrats: Take away 70% of your income and give it to leftist fantasy programs https://t.co/NxJPSCqvrt
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) January 5, 2019
Ocasio-Cortez shot back with invective. “You’re the GOP Minority Whip. How do you not know how marginal tax rates work?” she asked. “Oh that’s right, almost forgot: GOP works for the corporate CEOs showering themselves in multi-million bonuses; not the actual working people whose wages + healthcare they’re ripping off for profit.”
You’re the GOP Minority Whip. How do you not know how marginal tax rates work?
Oh that’s right, almost forgot: GOP works for the corporate CEOs showering themselves in multi-million💰bonuses; not the actual working people whose wages + healthcare they’re ripping off for profit. https://t.co/R1YIng2Ok1
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 6, 2019
While Scalise did not perfectly represent Ocasio-Cortez’s agenda, the self-described democratic socialist’s response seemed needlessly aggressive. Rather than discuss the issues, she blasted Scalise and his party as selfish profiteers, intentionally screwing the poor.
It seems sadly natural that when this Democrat blasted Republicans as evil, some of her followers would take that too far. None of this means Ocasio-Cortez is responsible for the horrific “jokes” that ensued, but she arguably needs to condemn them.
No man who almost lost his life to political violence, and went through months of recovery — well documented in the recent book Back in the Game: One Gunman, Countless Heroes, and the Fight of My Life — deserves to have his pain and struggles mocked in such a way.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.