Steve Scalise Calls on Ocasio-Cortez to Denounce Assassination 'Joke' Tweets
Over the weekend, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tussled over the socialist's proposed 70 percent top tax rates. While Ocasio-Cortez remained focused on issues, her followers made horrific comments joking about Scalise's traumatic experience in 2017, when he almost died in the congressional baseball game shooting. On Monday, Scalise called on Ocasio-Cortez to denounce these comments.
"Everybody knows you were shot, almost killed. Miraculous story that you weren’t, thank goodness," Fox News's Brian Kilmeade said to Scalise Monday morning. "And all of sudden followers were saying they will snipe you. ... So you got threats. Did she call you or contact you in any way?"
The whip said he hasn't yet heard from Ocasio-Cortez. Kilmeade asked, "Do you think it's inappropriate that she didn't?"
"I'd like to see her stand up to this," Scalise said. "Everybody ought to stand up to this kind of discussion. If somebody wants to have a debate about policy, that’s what we’re all about. That's what the First Amendment's all about, but you shouldn’t threaten people."
"And if you’ve got to threaten people to make your point, you have already lost," the whip concluded.
The horrific tweets came as responses to Ocasio-Cortez, who had mocked Scalise for seeming not to understand marginal tax rates. The socialist had been clear that her 60 percent or 70 percent tax rate would be reserved for the very top earners, but the whip suggested it would be applied to all hard-working Americans. Her response was nasty, but did not call for or condone violence.
Her followers seemed to do just that, however. "Snipe his ass," one user named Raandy, a satirical account behind the scam about postal workers "ripping up Trump ballots," tweeted. His comment now has 30 "retweets" and 1,000 "likes." Given the whip's close call in an assassination attempt in 2017, this use of "sniping" arguably refers to violent shooting more than character assassination.
Another Ocasio-Cortez supporter chimed in, claiming in a since-deleted tweet that AOC has "better aim than James Hodgkinson," the man who shot Scalise in 2017.
Scalise pointed to these and other tweets, suggesting that his debate with AOC would make more sense on the floor of the House, rather than on Twitter.
When PJ Media asked Twitter whether the "sniping" tweet violated the social media platform's terms of service — so many conservatives have been wrongly suspended over false claims of "hate speech" — Twitter did not respond.