In the wake of the high school massacre that left 17 people dead in Parkland, Florida, one Republican Congresswoman said most mass shooters are Democrats — without substantiating her claim. In a recorded interview posted to YouTube Monday, a visibly irritated Tenney was asked about her comments on Democrats and mass shootings. She described the question as "fake news," and stormed off.
The Congresswoman, Claudia Tenney of New York, first shared these comments in February while speaking on WGDJ radio (here's an mp3 recording). Tenney said: "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."
The Republican Congresswoman, who is currently serving her first term, added, "That's what scares me most. A lot of these legal gun owners are going to be targeted now. In their demographic, they have the least amount of crime than virtually any other demographic."
Later on, Tenney doubled down on her comments after CNN sought a clarification. She said, "I am fed up with the media and liberals attempting to politicize tragedies and demonize law-abiding gun owners and conservative Americans every time there is a horrible tragedy."
Congresswoman Tenney went on to say: "While we know the perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views, my comments are in response to a question about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime. I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists."
Although Tenney is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, she has expressed interest in possibly strengthening background checks.
In the YouTube video, Tenney starts by talking about how mass shootings affect people "of all sectors" and different walks of life.
"It isn't just Republicans who commit these terrible crimes," Tenney said. Then she lambasted "the media" and the Democratic party for peddling a narrative that, she believes, maligns right-wing owners of firearms. These people are "exploiting the terrible tragedies that are happening in our communities" by demanding for sensible gun laws.
Around the 2:20 mark, Tenney says, "You didn't listen to the interview." Then she leans into microphone presumably held by the person asking her questions and yells, "It's fake news! I answered your question every which way, it is fake news." She then added, "Bye. Done. It's ridiculous."
Although Tenney has doubled down on her comments, some claim it will hurt her in her bid for re-election. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's spokesman, Evan Lukaske, released a statement, "Once again Congresswoman Tenney has demonstrated how completely unfit she is to serve in Congress."
Lukaske added, "Two weeks ago she called Democrats ‘un-American,’ last week she defended alleged domestic abuser Rob Porter, and now she blames Democrats for mass murder — she is an embarrassment to New York and our country. Tenney’s comments are unhinged, shameful and disgusting, and show why voters will replace her next November." A tweet shared on Mar. 4 reflected Lukaske's prediction as Twitter user Jon Lipe noted that Tenney reportedly faced more than 60 protesters during her re-election announcement. It's clear that some did not take well to her mass shooter theory.
The Republican Congresswoman is seeking to run for a re-election, but has so far received criticism and protest from her opponents. She started her campaign on Sunday in Binghamton in upstate New York. But her false comments against Democrats being mass shooters is continuing to cause her costly support and much-needed positive publicity.
The vice president of the Binghamton University College Democrats, Brian Garcia, told USA Today, "Her comments on the Parkland shooting were myopic and immature." Garcia went on to say, "The fact that she doesn't hold public events shows that she doesn't care about us."