Republican worries 'assassination risk' prompting lawmaker resignations

Rep. Mo BrooksMorris (Mo) Jackson BrooksThe 23 Republicans who voted against the anti-hate resolution House passes anti-hate measure amid Dem tensions Congress just proved there is hope for honest discussion on climate MORE (R-Ala.) floated the idea on Friday that Republicans may be retiring in large numbers from Congress because of the threat of violence and assassinations. 

In an interview on "The Dale Jackson Show," Brooks suggested that residual fears from a shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice in June may be prompting GOP lawmakers to step down. 

"One of the things that’s concerning me is the assassination risk may become a factor," Brooks said, as first reported by Roll Call

ADVERTISEMENT

"You have to wonder with that kind of disproportionate retirement number whether what happened in June played a factor," he added.

He pointed to the fact that several members of the Republican baseball team were among those retiring from Congress, including Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (Ariz.) and Reps. Tom RooneyThomas (Tom) Joseph RooneyHill-HarrisX poll: 76 percent oppose Trump pardoning former campaign aides Dems fear Trump is looking at presidential pardons Ex-GOP lawmaker joins family firm  MORE (Fla.) and Dennis RossDennis Alan RossEx-GOP lawmaker joins family firm  Ex-GOP lawmaker joins Florida lobbying firm Incoming GOP lawmaker says he may have violated campaign finance law MORE (Fla.). 

Brooks acknowledged that many of his colleagues who have announced their retirements may not cite threats of violence among their reasons for leaving Washington, but said the number of retirements is "out of whack."

"I don't think any of these people who are retiring would say that, but just looking at the numbers,” he said. “That’s out of whack."

The comments came the same day that GOP Rep. Patrick Meehan (Pa.) announced his immediate resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations, promising to pay back a $39,000 payment of taxpayer money that was used to settle a claim against him.

Brooks's comments also came days after the Republican baseball team held their first practice of the year at the same field in Alexandria, Va., where a gunman opened fire on a group of GOP lawmakers in June.

That attack left five people wounded, including House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseWhy do so many Democrats embrace hate speech? Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report Meadows says Mueller's end proves 'no collusion' MORE (R-La.), who was injured critically. The gunman was identified as an Illinois man and left-wing activist, who was reportedly angry with President Trump and the Republican majority in Congress.