Democratic strategist not sorry for #HuntRepublicanCongressmen, #HuntRepublicans hashtags
A New Jersey Democratic strategist is steadfastly not sorry for adding #HuntRepublicanCongressmen and #HuntRepublicans hashtags to tweets he posted after the shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice Wednesday, which critically injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.
“It is insensitive, and I don’t care. You want me to be politically correct? I don’t have time for that anymore,” James Devine told WKXW-FM Thursday. “I’m not apologizing if it offended snowflake Republicans.”
Asked by MyCentralJersey.com about his social media response, Devine said he thinks “it speaks for itself. Yesterday’s events are the result of escalating rhetoric and vitriol that has been evident in our political system culminating with the election of our president and the chickens came home to roost, you know?”
He also told the outlet a case could be made — using GOP gun-rights philosophy — that the accused gunman was simply exercising his right to bear arms: “Well, now that we have a tyrannical government, to use another Republican’s words, James Hodgkinson is a citizen availing himself of his Second Amendment remedies.”
Devine told MyCentralJersey.com that “other people might be woken up to the fact that this is nothing that wasn’t invited by things like Sarah Palin’s crosshairs on Gabby Giffords before she was shot.”
Devine also wrote on Facebook that he has “little sympathy for the Republican Congressman who got shot today because he viciously opposed President [Barack] Obama’s effort to reduce gun violence and instead, he accepted more gun lobby money than all but 15 other members of the House of Representatives.”
A spokesman for New Jersey Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie told MyCentralJersey.com the organization “is in no way associated with Mr. Devine’s hashtag” and “we reject incitements to violence and deplore such sensationalism.”
Devine told the outlet that while he doesn’t condone violence, Republicans who use aggressive rhetoric should be prepared for violence:
“If you want to behave in an uncivilized and violent manner, which I do not condone, but if you want to operate under those circumstances,” he said, “then you have to be prepared to accept those consequences.”
He said that lawmakers should be focusing on passing better gun-control laws and toning down vicious rhetoric, but that Trump instead incited violence during his campaign.
“He offered to pay the legal fees of people who assaulted his political critics,” Devine said. “Yes, I do think that Donald Trump encouraged people to take matters into their own hands and to use violence.”
“For too long, these snowflakes in the Republican party that are wringing their hands on Fox News at night, well they have to realize something: this is 15 years in the making.”
He said that a war of classes has been created by the Republican party.
“If you want to invite a class war,” he said, “then you have to expect people to fight back at some point.”
As for the attack on Scalise Wednesday, Devine said, “I think it’s horrible, but I think it was extremely predictable, and I think it was entirely preventable.”
Devine formerly served as a political consultant to attorney Billy Delgado, when he ran for mayor in Perth Amboy in 2012, the outlet said, and worked for various media groups in the state.
He also was arrested and accused of shoplifting about $22.47 worth of merchandise from a ShopRite store in Linden, MyCentralJersey.com said, adding that a store loss prevention office told police Devine was observed on surveillance camera placing two bags of lettuce, a bottle of hair conditioner and a container of protein powder in a shopping bag and walking out without paying.