The shooting at a congressional GOP baseball practice is just the latest in an escalating pattern of violence and intimidation against Republicans.
James T. Hodgkinson opened fire on GOP lawmakers and staffers with a rifle on Wednesday morning as they prepared for the annual summer baseball game between Republicans and Democrats. The shooter wounded several victims, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and a staffer for Texas Rep. Roger Williams, before heroically being taken down by Capitol Police.
If not for the attendance of Scalise — whose leadership position comes with a security detail — “it would have been a massacre,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who managed to avoid getting shot.
Even before Wednesday’s shooting, Republicans were growing used to being on the receiving end of violence and intimidation amid an increasingly hostile political climate where left-wingers portrayed them as “fascists.”
One of Virginia Rep. Tom Garrett’s town halls last month featured a heavy police presence after Garrett and his family were targeted by repeated death threats. “This is how we’re going to kill your wife,” read one such message, Garrett told Politico.