A recently circulated memo from the House Republican Conference advised members to characterize the El Paso mass shooting and other tragedies as “violence from the left,” The Tampa Bay Times reported Friday.
The leaked memo contained suggestions for responding to anticipated questions about their resistance to more gun restrictions, including questions about the rise in white supremacist attacks.
For questions about whether white nationalism contributes to recent mass shootings, the memo by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) reportedly suggested responding by deflecting to a “both sides” argument.
Hudson’s suggestion for Republicans facing the question “Do you believe white nationalism is driving more mass shootings recently” was to make a point of also condemning “violence from the left” to highlight history of violence on both sides.
“White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form,” the memo states.
But the memo goes on to state: “We also can’t excuse violence from the left such as the Dayton shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s shooter, and Antifa.”
A spokesperson for Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), who included the memo in a newsletter this week, said the El Paso shooting—in which the gunman reportedly targeted Hispanic people—was mistakenly included instead of the Dayton shooting, which Republicans have linked to leftist politics despite ambiguous evidence, reports The Daily Beast.
The shooting suspect in El Paso told police he targeted Mexicans when he opened fire at a Walmart. The suspect also allegedly published an anti-immigrant manifesto decrying a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”