In case anyone was wondering how the Republican presidential candidates feel about the shooting that took place in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood earlier today, their silence says it all. Not a single Republican candidate has made any kind of statement, ten hours after it began. No empty calls for prayers or even distasteful victim-shaming pro-gun rhetoric. Marco Rubio somehow found time to tweet about sales in his campaign shop and Donald Trump decided this was a good enough time as any to release a statement insulting a disabled journalist for asking too many questions. Democratic candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have both expressed their support for Planned Parenthood and their condolences for the victims.
It’s unsurprising, unfortunately. The Republican candidates, financially beholden to the firearms lobby and the National Rifle Association, have always avoided expressing any kind of empathy or respect for the victims of mass shootings. Their usual response includes calls for looser gun regulations, vague appeals to “prayer,” and shamefully begging the left to stop “politicizing a tragedy,” as if a person murdering his fellow man in cold blood was some kind of unpreventable disaster like a landslide or a hurricane.
On top of that, the Republican presidential candidates, in their attempts to win the support of the evangelical vote, have been attacking Planned Parenthood with a ferocity that inspires violence. Disgraced ex-CEO of HP Carly Fiornia and radical Christian extremist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in particular have been leading a campaign of atrocious lies and vile slander against one of America’s most important healthcare providers. Using the heavily misleading videos to assert that Planned Parenthood is harvesting the organs of children is tantamount to putting out a fatwa out on them, inciting this kind of extreme reaction among the overzealous looking for an excuse to bring harm to others. For being so-called “pro-life,” conservatives on Twitter (see tweets below) cheered the attack like Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) supporters did when the attacks in Paris occurred.
Planned Parenthood has been the target of right-wing terrorism for decades; many of the employees remained safe by hiding in secret rooms created specifically for hiding from gunmen. After the videos first surfaced, there were four arsons of Planned Parenthoods in the next two months. The records of the National Abortion Federation count at least eight murders, 41 bombings, and 173 arsons at abortion clinics since 1977 by right-wing extremists. The silence of these religious fanatics and pro-life hypocrites just shows that this is the kind of terrorism they approve of.
thanks to Twitter user @KeeganNYC for the collection of conservative tweets
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.