Nebraska Democratic leaders have called for the resignation of one of their own officials after she made an appalling Facebook statement about the brutal shooting on a Virginia baseball field last week.
Democratic official Chelsey Gentry-Tipton took to social media immediately after the shooting that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise hospitalized and fighting for his life. As quoted by the Omaha World Harold: “Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?”
Political officials are now asking Chelsey what was “so funny,” and have asked her to tender her resignation. But Tipton has refused to resign as chairwoman of the local Black Caucus, claiming her post was misunderstood.
She went on in her post to comment, “The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”
Scalise was among five victims shot on the morning of June 14, but the only one who remains hospitalized. The gunman was shot and killed by Scalise’s security detail in the middle of the assassination attempt.
Jane Kleeb, Nebraska Democratic chair, made statements that indicated she didn’t agree with the amount of media attention Tipton’s social media posts were receiving, calling the discussion something that should have been an internal dispute. Regardless, she did confirm the party’s officials deep disappointment in the comments, stating that “Anyone who commits violence against anyone is wrong. Anyone who makes insensitive comments about gun violence is wrong. For me, that’s the end of the story.”
Kenny Zoeller, executive director of the Nebraska Republican Party, had this reaction: “That sort of acceptance of violence is furthering the divide in an already hyper-polarized political environment,” adding that the trauma experienced by those who witnessed the shooting or feared for their safety isn’t funny.
Tipton furthered her comments, however, by criticizing the fact that she was asked to resign before allowing her to defend herself. She eventually wrote, “I don’t condone or find humor in what happened,” and called the event “deeply troubling.”
But rather than end on a somewhat apologetic note, she continued with several paragraphs directed at Kleeb, letting her know that Kleeb “clearly doesn’t understand” how police and gun violence, and inequality and bigotry affect the black community. She wrote, “I believe that there are people in the party that benefit from taking my post out of context. I don’t believe that you or anyone else is the arbiter of my words, voice or compassion for the black community.”
Kleeb is not the only voice of criticism after Tipton’s harsh comments. Vince Powers, former Nebraska Democratic chairman, called the words “outrageous.”
Despite the party members’ strong disagreement with the extremism of Tipton’s statements, Kleeb says they can only ask her to resign, but do not have the authority to force her out. She also has attempted to put the focus back on their issue at hand, saying there are “kids who can’t go to school and people who can’t play baseball or go to work and be safe. Elected officials must address the many issues that factor into gun violence without demonizing each other.”
She also stated, “We need to start humanizing each other again,” which is a statement all of us can agree on. The question remains: will the Left learn from this episode? Or will they continue to demonize all opposition as “hateful,” “oppressive,” and “bigoted”? Will these calls for civility persist when there’s an election to win? That has yet to be seen, but we can surely hope.