Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) said Wednesday that he hoped the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball team practice would send a signal to Democrats to “tone down the rhetoric.”
He later said that “all of us, including myself” should tone done their rhetoric. Collins also said he would carry his gun with him as a result of the shooting.
“The rhetoric has been outrageous, of the finger-pointing, just the tone, and the angst, and the anger directed at Donald Trump and his supporters,” Collins said in an interview with WBEN shortly after news of the shooting broke Wednesday morning. “Really, then, some people react to things like that. They get angry as well, and then you fuel the fires.”
“Maybe this is a wake-up call,” he added. “I’m not saying it will be, but let’s hope we can disagree on a more polite, conversational basis, and not do things like what they did at my office a couple of weeks ago, they had a die-in. It’s gone too far.”
Collins said earlier in the interview that “you can never get into the motivation of a crazy person shooting,” but that he suspected Scalise had been a target for the gunman. “Apparently the shooter was waiting for them,” he said separately.
“I’m not going to live my life any differently, that’s not going to happen,” he told WBEN.
In a separate interview with WKBW Wednesday morning, though, Collins noted one significant change.
“I will be carrying when I’m out and about, which, I have to tell you, I have not been, even though I have a carry permit at home,” he said, referring to his permit to carry a firearm.
“On a rare occasion, you know, I’d have my gun in the glove box or something, but it’s going to be in my pocket from this day forward,” he added.
Beginning minutes after the shooting began, and throughout the day, Collins shared his concern for those injured in the shooting and thanked Capitol Police.
In a statement posted to his account at 1:17 p.m., Collins appeared to temper his earlier sentiments, saying that “[i]t’s time for all of us, including myself, to tone down our rhetoric and recognize that we are all of one country and all proud Americans.”
H/t The Buffalo News
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