Staffer: Congressman's use of Scalise shooting 'makes my stomach turn'

Staffer: Congressman's use of Scalise shooting 'makes my stomach turn'

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As Congressman Steve Scalise recovers from a gunshot wound, an Alabama representative is being criticized for using - in his own campaign ads - recordings from the day Scalise was shot.

U.S. House Rep. Mo Brooks is seeking the vacant Senate seat left by Jeff Sessions when he became U.S. attorney general.

Brooks' campaign ad starts with the gunshots heard last month at a Virginia baseball field when James Hodgkinson shot Majority Whip Scalise, a lobbyist, a congressional aide and a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

The ad then details how Brooks was there when Hodgkinson wounded Scalise and how Brooks came to the aid of those wounded. In his ad, Brooks then blast the "liberal media" when someone asked him about gun control the day of the shooting.

"Does this change your views on the gun situation in America?" someone asked Brooks in the ad.

In the ad, Brooks responds, "The Second Amendment right to bear arms is to help insure that we always have a republic. So no, I'm not changing my position on the rights that we enjoy as Americans."

It is unclear who asked Brooks the question that day.

Congressman Scalise remains in fair condition at MedStar Washington Hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound to the hip and battling severe infection.

Brooks took to Twitter Monday defending his ad saying, "I'm not changing my position on the Second Amendment despite being targeted for assassination by a liberal."

Scalise Chief of Staff Brett Horton also took to Twitter Monday saying, "The day of the shooting, while waiting at the hospital, I avoided the news/audio/video as much as possible. This makes my stomach turn."

The Majority Whip's office would not say whether Scalise has seen the ad or if he agreed with its use. A Scalise spokesperson would only direct FOX 8 to Horton's tweet as the official comment.

"We politicize everything now-a-days, so this is not a surprising commercial. He talks about his own experiences, but he's surely opening himself up to criticism," FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said.

Sherman believes Brooks' use of the event to advance his political career may fall under inappropriate timing, especially as Scalise has bounced in and out of critical condition while he recovers.

"It becomes increasingly difficult to make a campaign commercial that connects with voters. Using an incident that tugs on heart strings is certainly a way to do it, but with Congressman Scalise still in the hospital, this commercial opens up Mo Brooks that he's politicizing an event far too soon," Sherman said.

Brooks has represented Alabama's 5th District since 2011.

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