Phil Montag made the comments while discussing the Congressional baseball shooting with Nebraska Democratic Party Black Caucus Chair Chelsey Gentry-Tipton in a private home Wednesday, The Omaha World-Herald reports.
Party Chair Jane Kleeb removed Montag from his position as the technology committee’s volunteer co-chair after hearing an audio recording of Montag’s expletive-filled remarks.
“I’m glad he got shot,” Montag says in the uncensored tape. “I’m not gonna fucking say that in public. I wish he was fucking dead.”
Montag told the World-Herald that he did not wish for Scalise’s death and that the recording had been edited to put his words out of context. The recording, however, has him specifically discussing Scalise and his work in Congress.
“This motherfucker, his whole job is to convince Republicans that fucking kick people off fucking healthcare,” Montag said in an uncensored recording. “I hate this motherfucker.”
Scalise, who was in a fair condition in hospital, is the number three in House GOP leadership. He actively worked to get House Republicans to support the controversial healthcare bill that would replace the Affordable Care Act.
In the audio, someone can be heard telling Montag after he makes his comments about Scalise that they had been recording the conversation and would “publicly release” the tape.
Montag’s obscene remarks come at a time when some commentators warn that political rhetoric has become violent. Controversies with public figures, such as Kathy Griffin and Johnny Depp, have made jokes about assassinating President Donald Trump. The Public Theater lost the sponsorship of Delta Air Lines after depicting Trump as the title character in its modernized “Julius Caesar” show.
“I’ve been in politics and community organizations for the past 20 years,” Nebraska Democrat Kleeb told The Washington Post. “I’ve seen political rhetoric get heated, especially during the George W. Bush times, but we have reached a completely different level in our country now, and it is terrifying, and it is scary, and it just has to end.”
Nebraska Republican Party Chairman Dan Welch said this rhetoric is “not a partisan matter” and “must be condemned on every level,” in a statement on the organization’s Facebook page Friday.