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'The rhetoric has been outrageous': GOP congressman blames Democrats following shooting, says he'll carry gun in public

Maxwell Tani

Chris Collins

(Rep. Chris Collins talks to reporters in Washington.REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
Rep. Chris Collins on Wednesday laid some blame on Democratic political rhetoric for a shooting that injured GOP Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia.

In an interview on WBEN, the New York Republican said Democratic political opposition to President Donald Trump had "gone too far."

"I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric," Collins said. "The rhetoric has been outrageous: The finger-pointing, the tone, the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters, really then, some people react to things like that, people get angry as well, and you fuel the fires."

Collins also said he would carry a gun in public in the incident's aftermath.

Collins lamented a recent "die-in" protest at his congressional office, meant to raise awareness about the projected higher levels of uninsured people under the Republican healthcare bill.

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Asked about whether he felt "threatened" as a visible Trump supporter, Collin said the shooting was "a bit of a wake-up call."

"You're exactly right: I'm the most visible Trump supporter in Washington," Collins said. "So yeah, of course I am concerned, but I'm not going to live my life any differently."

Witnesses described the alleged shooter as a man armed with a rife, who shot Scalise as well as Capitol Police officers. Law enforcement did not disclose a political motive.

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