Rep. Steve Scalise, Shot By Sanders Supporter, Replies to Request for Evidence of 'Bernie Bros' Being Bad: 'I Can Think of an Example'

Republican Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana replied Thursday to a request for evidence of bad behavior by supporters of presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, invoking the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball game practice.

Keith Ellison, the Democratic attorney general of Minnesota, tweeted Wednesday evening about the allegations that Sanders' supporters have attacked those who disagree with them.

"I have never seen @BernieSanders supporters being unusually mean or rude. Can someone send me an example of a 'Bernie Bro' being bad. Also, are we holding all candidates responsible for the behavior of some of their supporters? Waiting to hear," Ellison wrote.

"I can think of an example," Scalise replied the following day.

I can think of an example.

— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) February 20, 2020

Scalise, then-House majority whip, was one of the injured at a mass shooting at a practice for the 2017 annual congressional baseball game in Alexandria, Virginia. There were no fatalities beyond the shooter, however Scalise, some congressional aides and two police were wounded with non-life-threatening injuries. James Hodgkinson, 66, was arrested at the scene and died from injuries sustained as he was apprehended.

Prior to the shooting, Hodgkinson asked then-Representative Ron DeSantis of Florida if the team practicing were Republicans or Democrats. Hodgkinson was described as a supporter of Sanders' 2016 presidential campaign. Reporters discovered social media posts and letters Hodgkinson sent to a local newspaper, including some posts demanding then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton drop out of the race.

Steve Scalise
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) referred to the 2017 shooting at a congressional baseball game practice when Keith Ellison asked for examples of bad behavior by supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Samuel Corum/Getty

After the shooting, Sanders denounced the attack as "despicable," and confirmed that Hodgkinson had volunteered for his 2016 campaign. In a 2018 interview with Mark Levin on Fox News, Scalise said he did not blame Sanders for the shooting, and said that the senator reached out to him shortly after the shooting.

"He reached out to my office, and I think we may have spoken in those kinda first few days where I was in a fog, but he did reach out," Scalise said. "And I don't hold him or anything responsible... Clearly, what this guy did was deranged, and there is no justification for it."

Throughout his campaign, Sanders has come under fire for the online actions of those who identify themselves as his supporters. Most recently, the Nevada Culinary Workers Union (NCWU) says supporters have attacked the organization over Sanders' "Medicare for All" health care plan.

"It's disappointing that Senator Sanders' supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families in Nevada simply because our union has provided facts on what certain healthcare proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over 8 decades," said NCWU Secretary-Treasurer Geoconda Arguello-Kline in a Wednesday statement.

Sanders condemned the attacks, calling them unacceptable, and calling for his supporters to disagree "in a respectful manner."

"Anybody making personal attacks against anybody else in my name is not part of our movement," Sanders said in an interview with PBS NewsHour. "We don't want them. And I'm not so sure, to be honest with you, that they are necessarily part of our movement."