Republican Steve Scalise Ended Twitter Debate After Users Allude to Congressional Shooting

Amy Tang
By Amy Tang
January 7, 2019News
Republican Steve Scalise Ended Twitter Debate After Users Allude to Congressional Shooting
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, of La., speaks with the media on Capitol Hill in Washington, on May 17, 2017. (Alex Brandon/AP File Photo)

Steve Scalise, the Republican Minority Whip, ended a debate on Twitter with Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez after some Twitter users wrote comments apparently referring to the June 2017 Congressional Shooting, in which Scalise was almost killed by a left-wing sniper.

Early Sunday morning, Scalise posted two screenshots, which shows three Twitter comments inferring political violence, along with his announcement to move the debate away from Twitter.

“Hi @AOC. Happy to continue this debate on the Floor of the People’s House, but it’s clearly not productive to engage here with some of your radical followers,” tweeted Scalise.

The author of one of the comments later stated that it was not inciting violence, tweeting “not seeing any violence there sorry.” The user also told Fox News that the words in the comment were not to be taken literally.

As of Monday morning, Ocasio-Cortez had not responded about the aggressive comments on Twitter.

In a TV Interview with Fox News, Scalise said he’d like to see Ocasio-Cortez take action about the threatening comments.

“I’d like to see her stand up to this, everybody ought to stand up to this kind of discussion. If somebody wants to have a debate about policy, that’s what we’re all about. That’s what the First Amendment is all about, but you shouldn’t threaten people. If you’ve got to threaten people to make your point, you’ve already lost,” said Scalise.

The Debate

Ocasio-Cortez, 29, was sworn into the House of Representatives on Jan. 3, becoming the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.

The newly elected Democrat was featured in a CBS 60 Minutes interview scheduled to air on Jan. 6. During the interview, Ocasio-Cortez called for a higher tax rate for people who have higher incomes, reaching as high as 70 percent for those top-earners.

The high tax rate would be used to fund the “Green New Deal,” which is an environmental plan that aims to eliminate carbon emissions within 12 years.

Citing a preview of the hour-long interview, Scalise posted on Twitter a comparison between Republican and Democrat policies.

“Republicans: Let Americans keep more of their own hard-earned money,” Scalise wrote on Twitter. “Democrats: Take away 70% of your income and give it to leftist fantasy programs.”

In response, Ocasio-Cortez questioned Scalise about marginal tax rates and argued that the Republicans work for rich people, not the working-class.

“You’re the GOP Minority Whip. How do you not know how marginal tax rates work?” replied Ocasio-Cortez. “Oh that’s right, almost forgot: GOP works for the corporate CEOs showering themselves in multi-million bonuses; not the actual working people whose wages + healthcare they’re ripping off for profit.”

About two hours after Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet, Scalise stopped the Twitter discussion.

The Shooting

On June 14, Scalise was shot during a congressional baseball practice by James Hodgkinson in Alexandria, Virginia. The gunman targeted Republican congressman with a rifle, wounding five people altogether.

After Scalise was shot in the left hip, he was transported to the MedStar Washington Hospital Center by a helicopter, where he underwent three operations.

The congressman was in “critical” condition when he arrived, his condition was improved to “serious” three days later. About a month later, he was discharged from the hospital on July 25.

In a shootout with the Capitol Police officers, Hodgkinson was killed on the scene. However, Special Agent Crystal Griner also sustained a gunshot wound to her ankle.

In November, Scalise published a book about the shooting named “Back in the Game: One Gunman, Countless Heroes, and the Fight for My Life,” giving a detailed account of the shooting and his journey of recovery.

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