GOP lawmaker links shooting to 'outrageous' Dem rhetoric

GOP lawmaker links shooting to 'outrageous' Dem rhetoric
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) on Wednesday linked the political rhetoric of Democrats to the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others at a baseball field in Alexandria, Va.

"I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric," Collins told WBEN. "The rhetoric has been outrageous ... the finger-pointing, just the tone and the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters."

Collins said that it was inevitable someone was going to act based on the "rhetoric" toward President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates MORE and the GOP.

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"You know, some people react to things like that. They get angry as well. And then you fuel the fires," said Collins, who is among the most vocal Trump backers on Capitol Hill.

A police spokeswoman said the shooter was in the hospital after being shot by police. Collins said Democrats should take the attack as a "wake-up call."

"Maybe this is a wake-up call. I'm not saying it will be," Collins continued. "But let's hope we could disagree on a more polite, conversational basis and not do things like what they did at my office a couple weeks ago."

Protesters held a "die-in" at Collins's office last week to protest the GOP efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Collins said the move went "too far."

"I can only hope maybe there's something here that would say: Let's tone down the rhetoric. We can disagree politically but we can be polite," Collins said. "It's gone too far."