Steve King Blames Obama for Congressman’s Shooting

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Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Appearing on Iowa radio host Simon Conway’s program Wednesday, Congressman Steve King claimed that President Obama was partly to blame for the shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and three other members of the Republican Party at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia.

“I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama,” said King, a white nationalist who has compared immigrants to livestock and dogs and suggested it would be “racist” to put a black woman on the $20 bill. “He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor.”

Conway agreed. “Of course he also spent eight years telling us all how terrible we all are and what a garbage can America was and how unexceptional we all were,” he told King. “I agree. I absolutely agree with what you said.”

Speaking to reporters Wednesday before learning about the shooter’s motives, King decried “the disappearance of the American center,” blaming the “violence … appearing in the streets” that is “coming from the left” and criticizing ongoing protests against Trump since the inauguration.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s disapproval rating has hit 60 percent faster than any other president in modern American history. On the campaign trail, Trump routinely employed divisive rhetoric, encouraging violence against protesters and saying he would pay the legal fees for a supporter who assaulted a heckler at one of his rallies.

Yesterday’s shooter, 66-year-old James Hodgkinson, had a long history of domestic violence and held strong anti-Trump views. He was killed during a shootout with police at the baseball field Wednesday. Last year, he volunteered in Iowa for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Sanders was quick to condemn Hodgkinson’s actions, saying he was “sickened by this despicable act.”

On Thursday morning, Scalise remained in critical condition and was undergoing additional surgeries.

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.