White House Spox Accuses Beto O’Rourke of Faking Outrage Over El Paso Shooting to Win the Iowa Caucus

White House Spox Accuses Beto O’Rourke of Faking Outrage Over El Paso Shooting to Win the Iowa Caucus

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley on Tuesday accused Beto O’Rourke of politicizing the El Paso shooting because he’s running for president and wants to win the Iowa caucus.

Gidley made the comments to Fox’s Melissa Francis on the day’s edition of Outnumbered Overtime. They came at the end of a rambling rant about Democrats blaming Trump for inspiring the El Paso shooter:

“You played a clip from Beto O’Rourke, and I’ll tell you this. He doesn’t care about making this country safer, he cares about winning the Iowa caucus. That’s the only play you see here, it’s political in nature.”

Sure, the fact O’Rourke is from El Paso, represented the city for two terms in Congress and likely had former constituents among the dead has nothing to do with his outrage. It’s simply politics in whatever reality Gidley lives in.

Earlier, Francis had asked if Gidley thought the culture that Trump “foments” at his rallies, with his rhetoric about invasions by undocumented immigrants, in any way inspires others to violence. The deputy press secretary was shocked, SHOCKED to be asked such a question:

“That is absolutely ridiculous. We do not blame, nor to be even dream of blaming Elizabeth Warren for the shooter in Ohio who wanted to vote for her.”

Right, because as far as anyone knows at this early stage of the investigation, the Dayton shooter’s motivation does not appear to have been political in nature. The El Paso shooter’s motivation was political, and it was dredged up from the same pool of fearmongering about Hispanic immigrants that the president wallows in. Gidley just snuck that in there to make sure the audience links both shootings in its collective mind instead of realizing that only one seems to have been in service of accomplishing a goal that has been the centerpiece of Trump’s campaign.

“We don’t blame Barack Obama for the deaths of Dallas police officers. That is ridiculous. We wouldn’t dream of doing it and we cannot apply that standard to us and ignore it in the Democrat side.”

Why Gidley would bring up the ambush murder of Dallas police officers from 2016 is a head-scratcher. But members of the Republican Party did blame Obama for fostering a murderous attitude towards law enforcement by virtue of his rhetoric and his refusal to condemn the Black Lives Matter movement.

All in all, it was a typical media appearance for a White House representative this week. The emerging strategy seems to be to play up President Trump’s alleged anguish over the two mass shootings while sneering that Democrats could not possibly also be sincerely upset, but are only playing politics by blaming Trump’s overheated and racist rhetoric for the tragedy in El Paso.

Watch the clip above, via Fox News.


Gary Legum

Gary Legum

Gary Legum has written about politics and culture for Independent Journal Review, Salon, The Daily Beast, Wonkette, AlterNet and McSweeney's, among others. He currently lives in his native state of Virginia.