The head of the House Democrats’ political arm on Monday criticized Republicans following the terrorist attack at an Orlando gay nightclub, saying they were avoiding identifying the group that was targeted.
“We’re seeing very few, if any, of our Republican colleagues call this the hate crime that it is,” said Rep. Ben Ray Luján, chairman of the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee, at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.
Luján also criticized the response to the shootings from presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, whom he called “reckless.”
The mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning that left 49 club goers and the shooter dead has proved a political Rorschach test for members of Congress. Law enforcement officials are investigating the attack — the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history — as an act of terrorism.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle offered their condolences and expressed outrage. Republicans tended to cite the need to boost counterterrorism efforts, particularly as it relates to radical elements of the Muslim community. Democrats were more likely to emphasize the need to combat gun violence, and the threats to the LGBT community.
Lujan said Monday it was both a terrorist attack and a hate crime, something he said many Republicans won’t acknowledge.
Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.