GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa has asserted that former President Barack Obama shares at least part of the blame for the June 14 shooting targeted at Republican lawmakers in Virginia
In broad daylight, gunman James T. Hodgkinson opened fire during a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, wounding five people. House Majority Whip GOP Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana was critically injured during the attack.
That day, King declared in an interview with WHO Iowa radio that Obama was culpable in the shooting.
"I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama," King said, according to CNN. "He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor."
The Iowa lawmaker also took to social media to acuse Democrats and liberal activists of prompting the shooting with their rhetoric.
"The center of America is disappearing, and the violence is incited by the leading cultural voices of the Left," King tweeted out.
King is no stranger to controversy and polarizing rhetoric. In July 2016, he questioned what contributions non-white societies had made to Western civilization.
"I'd ask you to go back through history and figure out where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you are talking about?" King told MSNBC. "Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?"
Hodgkinson, a registered independent, was a vocal supporter of independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. In 2016, the gunman volunteered on Sanders' presidential campaign during the Democratic primary.
"I am sickened by this despicable act," Sanders said on the Senate floor in reaction to the shooting, according to the Boston Globe. "Let me be as a clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."
On June 14, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who was among the lawmakers targeted by Hodgkinson on the baseball field, confirmed that Obama had personally called him after the shooting.
"[Obama] just said, 'I hope that this does bring more unity,' and he wanted me to pass on certainly his regards if he wasn't able to get to Steve or others before me that he was praying for their good health," Flake told CBS News. "It was a nice call."