01:12 - Source: CNN
Bernie Sanders on shooting: I am sickened

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Gingrich has drawn a line between violence and liberals before

Sanders said the alleged shooter was a volunteer on his campaign, and condemned him

Washington CNN —  

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded to the shooting at a Republican baseball practice on Wednesday by saying it was “part of a pattern” of behavior on the left.

Gingrich, speaking on Fox News’ “Outnumbered,” offered his prayers to those injured and promptly lumped the violent incident in with what he called a broader trend coming from those opposed to President Donald Trump.

“It’s part of a pattern,” Gingrich said. “You’ve had an increasing intensity of hostility on the left.”

He claimed he knew college students who said they had received death threats for saying they supported Trump, and also criticized comedian Kathy Griffin – who was roundly chastised for posing in a photograph holding a bloodied Trump head – and a New York production of the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, which features a Trump-like Caesar.

Gingrich doubled down when a member of the panel, Fox News’ Melissa Francis, asked him: “Does that make sense?”

“You’ve had a series of things which send signals that tell people that it’s OK to hate Trump, it’s OK to think of Trump in violent terms, it’s OK to consider assassinating Trump,” Gingrich said. “And then suddenly we’re supposed to rise above it until next time?”

Sources told CNN the alleged shooter was 66-year-old James Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois. Shortly after that name began circulating, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders condemned the man who he said had “apparently volunteered” on his 2016 Democratic presidential campaign.

“Let me be as clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society,” Sanders said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “Real change can only come about through non-violent action.”

Gingrich has a long history of linking violence to liberals, including the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School.

But in a Politico report from 2011, Gingrich criticized liberals for blaming conservatives over the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat who survived being shot in the head during a shooting at a constituent event in Tucson.

“There’s no evidence that I know of that this person was anything except nuts,” Gingrich was quoted saying of the shooter at the time.