Alabama Senate candidate uses tape of congressional shooting in campaign ad

Andrew Bahl

The campaign of a Republican congressman running for the Senate, Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks, is being denounced after releasing an ad Monday that uses audio from a shooting that targeted GOP congressmen last month.

The shooting at a practice for the annual congressional baseball game gravely injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La. Two Capitol Police officers, a congressional aide and a lobbyist for Tyson Foods were also hit.

The advertisement opens with the sound of gunfire and sirens, with text reading “June 14: A Bernie Sanders supporter fires on Republican Congressman. Mo Brooks gives his belt as a tourniquet to help the wounded. What’s the liberal media immediately asking?”

It cuts to Brooks talking with reporters after the shooting, with one media member asking if the event changed his views opposing gun control.

“The Second Amendment right to bear arms is to help ensure we always have a republic,” Brooks responded. “So no, I’m not changing my position on any of the rights that we enjoy as Americans.”

Scalise remains in the hospital after undergoing numerous surgeries related to his injuries and is currently listed in fair condition. In a tweet Monday, Scalise’s chief of staff, Brett Horton, said the ad made “his stomach turn.”

“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,” Horton posted.

 

 

A spokesperson for Scalise went further in blasting the ad, telling NBC News “I guess some people have their own ideas about what’s appropriate.”

Brooks defended the ad in an interview with NBC News.

“It’s our intent to run this ad on TV so that the people of Alabama understand the depth of my commitment to the 2nd amendment,” Brooks said.

U.S. Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL) address reporters as he walks into a Speaker's office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 23, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

Brooks is one of six candidates vying to fill out the term of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Polling has shown former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore with a narrow lead, with Brooks and incumbent Luther Strange, an interim appointee, fighting for second place. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two finishers regardless of party will advance to a November runoff.

In an interview last month, Brooks acknowledged that the shooting has helped boost his national profile.

“To the extent people have a better awareness of who I am and how I handle myself, when under stressful circumstances, that’s probably good information for voters to know,” Brooks told AL.com. “But if I had my druthers, it would have never happened and my friends would not have been shot.”

Brooks’ ad is not the first to attempt to use the shooting. Principled PAC ran an ad last month linking Scalise’s shooting to a threatening letter sent to Georgia congressional candidate Karen Handel.

Brooks’ campaign did not return a request for comment.

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