A Nebraska Democratic Party official has refused calls to step down from her position after writing on social media that Republicans’ reactions to the shooting at a congressional baseball game practice in Alexandria, Virginia, earlier this week were “so funny.”
According to the Omaha World-Herald, Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, the chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party’s Black Caucus, said in a statement that party officials took her Facebook posts out of context. The World-Herald notes that Gentry-Tipton’s post is a volunteer position.
The World-Herald reported that in a Facebook post about the shooting, Gentry-Tipton wrote: “Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?”
Gentry-Tipton also wrote: “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”
On Wednesday, police said that James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, opened fire at a Republican congressional baseball game practice outside the nation’s capital. Five people were shot, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and two Capitol Police officers. Capitol Police said Hodgkinson was fatally shot. Scalise remains in critical condition at a Washington, D.C., hospital.
According to the World-Herald, the Nebraska Democratic Party’s leadership asked Gentry-Tipton to resign on Wednesday, only hours after she wrote the posts.
Jane Kleeb, chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party, told the World-Herald that the matter is an “internal party dispute” that distracts “from the more important issue of gun violence.” She said that the party is “deeply disappointed” in Gentry-Tipton’s remarks.
“Anyone who commits violence against anyone is wrong,” Kleeb said Thursday. “Anyone who makes insensitive comments about gun violence is wrong. For me, that’s the end of the story.”
Kleeb told the World-Herald that the party’s leadership cannot remove her from her position, only the members of the Black Caucus who elected her.
In a Facebook post addressed to Kleeb, Gentry-Tipton said she won’t resign.
“As a victim of gun violence, I understand that today's events are deeply troubling. I don't condone or find the humor in what happened,” Gentry-Tipton wrote.
Gentry-Tipton claimed that Kleeb was merely reacting to “some gossipy snippet of what I said.”
“At this point, I am not resigning from my role as chairwoman,” Gentry-Tipton wrote. “I believe that my post was taken out of context. I believe that there are people in the party that benefit from taking my post out of context. I don't believe that you or anyone else is the arbiter of my words, voice or compassion for the Black community or otherwise.”
Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party, told the World-Herald Thursday that there is nothing funny about the responses of those who witnessed the shooting.
“That sort of acceptance of violence is furthering the divide in an already hyper-polarized political environment,” he said.