Alabama GOP Rep. Mo Brooks Defends Using Scalise Shooting Audio in New Campaign Ad
Republican Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama yesterday defended a controversial new ad for his Senate special election campaign that uses audio from the shooting attack last month in which House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was critically wounded and four other people were hurt. Brooks told Politico that the ad is meant to highlight his support for the Second Amendment, and does "absolutely not" seek to politicize the attack.
The ad opens with sounds of gunshots and shows text describing the shooting at a congressional Republican baseball practice, by a man it describes as "a Bernie Sanders supporter," and Brooks using his belt as a tourniquet to help the injured. It then shows Brooks being interviewed by reporters at the scene about whether the shooting changed his views on gun control, and he answers, "The Second Amendment, the right to bear arms is to ensure that we always have a republic, so no, I'm not changing my position on any of the rights that we enjoy as Americans."
Some of Scalise's staffers are among those criticizing the ad, including his chief of staff, Brett Horton, who said it made his stomach turn. But Brooks said, "I believe that this ad, in a most compelling way, responds in a convincing way that Alabama voters will know that having lived through what I lived through and immediately thereafter being pressed by the news media on the Second Amendment right to bear arms, I stood my ground."
Brooks also said his ad isn't out of line because Senator Luther Strange, who was appointed to fill Jeff Sessions' seat when he left to become attorney general, has made the Second Amendment a major issue in the campaign. Strange and Brooks are both running in the special election's Republican primary next month, with Strange wanting to complete the rest of Sessions' term.