While Capitol Hill police raced to contain a mid-afternoon scare punctuated by gunshots, car chases and emergency evacuation procedures, Rep. Tim Griffin was busy firing partisan insults into the online ether.
Less than a minute after alerting his Twitter flock about the life-threatening drama right outside the Capitol, the Arkansas Republican took a swipe at President Barack Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. — a move many observers took to mean that he somehow blamed Democrats for the violent episode.
Reactions ran the gamut from disbelief:
This sent while shooter still active. Disgusting, indeed “@TimGriffinAR2: Stop the violent rhetoric Obama, Schumer & Pelosi. #Disgusting”
.@TimGriffinAR2 lmao. You are endorsed by the NRA.
Don't even bother deleting this tweet, @TimGriffinAR2. You've been screen capped.
@TimGriffinAR2 THAT's your reaction, seriously? Way to inject personal politics into the situation, asshole.When contacted by HOH about what, exactly, Griffin meant by the accusatory missive, his press office issued the following statement:
"The victims and their families are in my thoughts and prayers. The shooting today is a terrible and inexcusable tragedy and an act of terrorism. No one but the shooter is to blame.
“We are still processing information about this shooting, but as I have been saying for days, we all need to choose our words wisely because violent rhetoric only coarsens our culture, creates an atmosphere of incivility and is not helpful. I tweeted out of emotion but agree that the timing was not helpful.”