Scalise: Trump no more responsible for El Paso than 'Bernie Sanders is for my shooting'

Scalise: Trump no more responsible for El Paso than 'Bernie Sanders is for my shooting'
© Greg Nash

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Scalise, Cole introduce resolution to change rules on impeachment Republicans seek to delay effort to censure Schiff after Cummings' death MORE (R-La.) on Sunday dismissed claims that President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE’s rhetoric was responsible for last weekend’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, comparing it to his own shooting by a former campaign volunteer for Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' Warren says she will unveil plan to finance 'Medicare for All' Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (I-Vt.) in 2017.

“There’s no place for those kind of attacks and attacking someone based on their ethnicity,” Scalise said on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” adding that assigning blame was “a very slippery slope.”

"The president's no more responsible for that shooting as your next guest, Bernie Sanders, is for my shooting.”

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Scalise was severely wounded when a gunman opened fire on him and several of his Republican colleagues at a baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., by a man who volunteered for Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign. Sanders, who is again seeking the White House, condemned the shooter’s “despicable act” on the Senate floor the same morning.

 “What we need to do is to find out those people who have slipped through the cracks, let’s make sure these background check systems work properly and are rooting out the people who shouldn’t be able to purchase a gun,” Scalise said.

Numerous Democratic presidential candidates have drawn a line between a manifesto tied to the suspect in the El Paso killings, who told police he was targeting “Mexicans” and allegedly wrote that he was combating a “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” and Trump's rhetoric on immigration.

Scalise on Sunday demurred when asked by CBS’s Margaret Brennan whether he had spoken with Trump about the presidents’ own repeated invocations of an “invasion” by migrants.