Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is unequivocally condemning the vicious shooting committed by one of his campaign volunteers today, but he struck a different tone when Gabby Giffords was attacked in 2011.
Giffords, a former Democratic U.S. House Representative for Arizona, was the victim of a horrendous shooting that left her permanently injured, and took the lives of 6 people including some of her staffers. While the murderer, Jared Loughner, seemed to be animated by severe mental illness, Democrats used the opportunity to smear conservatives and blame unrelated right-wing rhetoric for the heinous act.
Among those on the left who shamelessly politicized the attack was one Senator Bernie Sanders.
He was so eager to cash in on the tragedy that he sent out a fundraising letter blaming threats from "right-wing reactionaries" for the attack.
“This horrendous act of violence is not some kind of strange aberration for this area where, it appears, threats and acts of violence are part of the political climate,” Sanders wrote. “Nobody can honestly express surprise that such a tragedy finally occurred.”
"In light of all of this violence – both actual and threatened – is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are able to participate freely and fully in the democratic process?” he continued. “Have right-wing reactionaries, through threats and acts of violence, intimidated people with different points of view from expressing their political positions?”
Bernie was not as willing to pin Wednesday's attack on members of Congress on political rhetoric, since it's been discovered that the alleged shooter, James Hodgkinson, was a volunteer on his presidential campaign.
“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice this morning is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign,” Sanders said on the Senate floor. “I am sickened by this despicable act, and let me be as clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."
Many people noted the discrepancy in his responses on social media:
In 2011, Bernie Sanders fundraised by blaming right wing/Sarah Palin for the Gabby Giffords shooting pic.twitter.com/zDmThQAeZB
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) June 14, 2017
Bernie Sanders used the Giffords shooting as a fundraising tactic and blamed Republican rhetoric for the violence. https://t.co/uLuW1gVrWk pic.twitter.com/RrDjw6orCR
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) June 14, 2017
Even though Bernie Sanders blamed the right's "rhetoric" for the Giffords shooting, it is my opinion that we shouldn't follow his example. pic.twitter.com/pwtvRVBf5X
— But...Conservatives! (@Gooms) June 14, 2017
The alleged shooter, James T. Hodgkinson, was gunned down by authorities at the scene. His social media footprint shows a long pattern of vitriol aimed at Republicans and Trump.