WASHINGTON ― Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.) claimed Wednesday that people who commit mass shootings are often Democrats.
The first-term Republican congresswoman made the comment at a discussion about last week’s Florida school shooting after criticizing the government for failing to act on several tips that might have prevented the deaths of 17 students and adults.
“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 either,” Tenney told WGDJ Talk1300 radio.
Although law enforcement officials said there were “no known ties” between Nikolas Cruz and a particular white supremacist group, the 19-year-old suspect in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre had repeatedly expressed racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic views in private group chats, CNN reported.
“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,” Tenney said in a subsequent statement on Wednesday. “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.”
The fact-checking site Snopes found that an online list purporting to show that assassins are more likely to be Democrats was, in fact, wildly flawed: Among other errors, it simply ignored any mass shooting known to be committed by someone with Republican or conservative views, and it identified shooters who were not Democrats as Democrats.
In her interview Wednesday, Tenney also lamented that legal gun owners might face restrictions after mass shootings.
“I think that’s what scares me most is, a lot of these legal gun areas are going to be targeted now,” she said. “In their demographic, they have the least amount of crime than virtually any other demographic.”
Tenney is a top-tier target of the Democratic Party in the 2018 midterm elections. She was criticized last week after she deplored the focus on domestic violence allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned after one of his ex-wives released photos of a black eye.
“I’m not saying he’s innocent, but I’m saying we don’t know,” Tenney said. “He could be the worst guy in the world, but now we’re getting into prosecution as far as I know. I guess there was an issue about, maybe the FBI knew about it, but really, is this what we’re talking about at this point?”
Evan Lukaske, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Wednesday that Tenney’s comments will hurt her at the polls.
“Once again Congresswoman Tenney has demonstrated how completely unfit she is to serve in Congress,” Lukaske said in a statement. “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.”
This article has been updated to include statements from Rep. Tenney and DCCC spokesman Evan Lukaske.