McCarthy: Colorado shooter is an 'evil, crazy guy'

McCarthy: Colorado shooter is an 'evil, crazy guy'
© Greg Nash

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday said the man who killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic is simply an “evil, crazy guy” when asked whether Republican rhetoric contributed to the tragedy. 

“The thing that drove him nuts is he was a very evil, crazy guy,” McCarthy told reporters when asked whether he thought criticism of Planned Parenthood had gone too far. “If you want to talk rhetoric, I see rhetoric [on] all different issues." 

He said the work of the congressional committee investigating Planned Parenthood would go on, noting that Democrats are represented on the panel as well.

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“I think you’ll find putting together a select committee was sheerly for the basis of just getting to information,” he said. 

Planned Parenthood officials have blamed Republican rhetoric for motivating alleged gunman Robert Dear Jr. to open fire at the Colorado clinic on Friday.

"It is offensive and outrageous that some politicians are now claiming this tragedy has nothing to do with the toxic environment they helped create,” Planned Parenthood Vice President Dawn Laguens said in a statement on Sunday. 

Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.) called for the committee to be disbanded. 

McCarthy, as Republicans have done after other recent shootings, put the focus on mental health. He pointed to bill to reform mental healthcare from Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) that is working its way through the Energy and Commerce Committee. 

Asked about a potential floor vote, McCarthy noted that Murphy is still working on the bill.

“He’s working on the bill itself and after the subcommittee [markup] some people brought up some different issues,” McCarthy said. 

Some Republicans, for example, have objected to the bill’s new Medicaid spending.

McCarthy also downplayed the possibility of a shutdown over defunding Planned Parenthood, saying security is now the main concern after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris. 

“I do not hear people shutting the government down over it right now,” McCarthy said. “I think security is becoming the top issue I’m hearing, especially in the last two weeks.”