As most everyone remembers, earlier this summer on an otherwise peaceful mid-June morning, a group of Republican Congressmen were practicing for a charity baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia when a deranged gunman opened fire, seeking to kill the Republicans as part of a political vendetta.
Thanks to the bravery of 2-person security detail for Congressman Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), countless lives were saved. Five people were injured in the incident, including the gunman, two Capitol Police officers, Congressman Scalise, one congressional staffer, and a lobbyist. Mr. Scalise remains in the hospital from the serious wound he sustained from a bullet to his hip.
Two of Alabama’s Congressmen were on the field that day—Congressmen Mo Brooks and Gary Palmer. Given their positions in relation to the shooter, it’s a miracle that neither of them was shot. Both men did all they could to avoid carnage and assist their wounded friends. Congressman Brooks came to the aid of the injured staffer, using his belt as a tourniquet on the young man’s leg until medical help arrived. Needless to say, everyone is grateful the lives of our Congressmen and many others were spared.
Fast forward six weeks and Alabama is headed down the back stretch of the primary in the special election for the U.S. Senate seat, which Brooks is seeking. (That primary election is three weeks away, on August 15th). As part of his campaign, Congressman Brooks has released a new TV ad (see YouTube video below) that calls attention to his actions that dark June day. Advocating the 2nd Amendment, actual gun shots and screams from the Alexandria shooting can be heard before an excerpt of the post-shooting plays.
Brooks’ Republican colleague, Congressman Steve Scalise, received the most severe wounds in the shooting and his staff has viscerally reacted to Brooks’ ad. As Scalise’s Chief of Staff, Brett Horton Tweeted:
The day of the shooting, while waiting at the hospital, I avoided the news/audio/video as much as possible. This makes my stomach turn.
In response, Brooks said,
First, we’re in a campaign for the U.S. Senate. Everything you do gets criticized. It makes my stomach turn too. I experienced it. It ought to make every American’s stomach turn, but that doesn’t change that it happened and it’s the truth.
Similarly, NBC’s Alex Mo Tweeted,
Spox (spokesperson) for injured GOP Whip Steve Scalise tells NBC News about new ad: “I guess some people have their own ideas about what’s appropriate”
Brooks replied to this as well, noting:
That’s a fair statement; it’s what all of us do in America on a regular basis. The setting for all this is important. Luther Strange has been running ads on the second amendment in heavy doses. Further, the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is always important in an Alabama election. This ad was the best ad that we could think of that concisely, in 30 seconds, shows my commitment to the 2nd amendment right to bear arms. It’s not staged. It’s real. After enduring a shooting in which over 100 bullets were fired, the media hoped to catch me at an emotional moment in which I would disavow the importance of the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms. Instead, even though I’d just been through a violent shoot out, I surprised the media and reaffirmed that the 2nd Amendment is the Amendment that protects all other rights we enjoy as Americans.
One of Brooks’ opponents in the Senate race, Republican Trip Pittman also criticized the ad, stating:
“The ad released today by Congressman Brooks is disappointing. I was shocked that he would agree to capitalize on the Alexandria tragedy for political gain. The video represents everything that is wrong in our political culture, where common decency is lost in the pursuit of votes at the ballot box. Rep. Steve Scalise and the others who were seriously wounded in the shooting are still recovering from their injuries, and I pray that they will make a full recovery. I will always stand for our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, but we must be careful not to sensationalize tragic events.”
To this, Brooks responded,
That’s absurd. It’s not made up. It’s the truth. It’s factual. And it does not capitalize on the shooting in any way, shape or form. The focus of the ad and the entire message of the ad is the interview I gave after the shooting. There is nothing in the ad in which I comment on what I did on behalf of the wounded during the shooting itself.
National media is also commentating on the ad. As The Hill points out in its article, Brooks told FM 99.5,
“If you noticed my speeches at these public events, I never bring up that event. If I’m asked about it — as you know, when I’m asked about most anything — I will respond to the question. But I don’t bring it up.”
To this, Brooks responded:
The focus of the ad is not on the event or my conduct helping the wounded during and after the shooting. The focus of the ad is on an interview that happened after it all ended. That is the message. It would be one thing if i were bragging about my conduct during the shooting itself. That has been avoided altogether.
SEE THE NEW MO BROOKS AD BELOW: