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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 ScaliseMerrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Ahead: One-shot vax, easing restrictions, fiscal help MORE (R-La.) on Sunday dismissed claims that President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged 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 SandersHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike House set for tight vote on COVID-19 relief package On The Money: Democrats scramble to save minimum wage hike | Personal incomes rise, inflation stays low after stimulus burst 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.