MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle expressed confusion over what a "scope" is while covering the shooting at the Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.
Ruhle joined MSNBC terrorism analyst Malcolm Nance on air Wednesday morning as details were still coming in following the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and three others, including two Capitol Police officers and a congressional aide. Nance speculated as to whether the gunman had a "scope" on the gun he used.
"Or it could have been an aimed shot — using an optic, some form of scope trying to get at a very specific target," Nance said.
Nance's terminology confused Ruhle. The MSNBC host asked Nance to "slow down" and further explain one thing in particular.
"Malcolm, slow down. Walk me through, for those of us who are not familiar with weapons, what exactly does a scope mean?"
Nance then broke it down for Ruhle as simply as possible:
It's a sniper scope. It's the long optic that you put on top of a weapon to gain a much closer field of view so that you can see your target better and it gives you the ability to shoot with some measure of precision. We don't know what kind of optic that he had on this weapon, but if he did have an optic on there it would probably explain the first shot. Whoever he was aiming at with the first shot was the person that he would really want to hit.
The Hill media reporter Joe Concha said that he would not criticize Ruhle because "she was just trying to clarify for the audience."
Not criticizing the MSNBC anchor on this one (believe it was Stephanie Ruhle). She was just trying to clarify for t… https://t.co/Vjgd0NNCcw— Joe Concha (@Joe Concha)1497449899.0
The problem with that assessment, however, is that Ruhle didn't refer to just her viewers or audience. She specifically asked Nance to explain what a scope is "for those of us who are not familiar with weapons."
— Nicholas Fondacaro (@NickFondacaro) June 14, 2017
Federal law enforcement officials identified the suspect as James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois. The suspect was taken to a D.C. hospital with gunshot wounds after police returned fire. President Donald Trump said in a statement from the White House that the suspect has died.