The lack of response from presidential candidates may have been because of the Thanksgiving holiday. However, some candidates tweeted about other topics as details of the shooting unfolded Friday evening....It's my understanding that this radio silence still holds.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), for example, sent out a tweet about his campaign merchandise.
... Rubio’s tweet was likely scheduled in advance....
Donald Trump was also tweeting during the Colorado shooting, though he steered clear of the topic entirely. Instead, he tweeted about his polling numbers and how he “cannot be bought.”
Shortly after the shooting suspect was apprehended, Trump also released a statement insulting a New York Times reporter he had made fun of earlier in the week. The reporter suffers from a physical disability.
Abortion rights supporters are horrified at what Illinois congressman Adam Kinzinger said yesterday on CNN while the siege was still under way, but trust me, any statements by the presidential candidates of Kinzinger's party will sound a lot like what he said. No, maybe not this part:
It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist:But certainly the rest of the statement:
“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”
" ... But regardless, if somebody is targeting Planned Parenthood, it’s not indicative of what folks that are opposed to some of the practices Planned Parenthood commits, how we feel, you know? We saw these barbaric videos, and that was something that many of us have a legitimate concern about. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to take guns and walk into Planned Parenthood clinics. Obviously, this is a person that has a mental health issue, that’s to some level psychotic and crazy. And if he’s targeting Planned Parenthood -- and again, we don’t know -- if he is, he has taken a legitimate disagreement with the practice and turned it into an evil response, which is to go in and shoot people. But again, we don’t know that answer yet, and I’m sure we’ll be finding out shortly.”
The GOP presidential candidates are going to say that this attack was evil, but Planned Parenthood is also evil. They'll say, however, that they absolutely oppose launching a violent attack on Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that they've repeatedly described Planned Parenthood as an agent of mass murder.
They probably won't attack the head of Planned Parenthood for saying this in her statement:
We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country.But they are waiting for what they'll consider a lucky break -- a dearth of anti-abortion and conservative material in the gunman's home and on his computer, and possibly evidence that he's profoundly psychotic or schizophrenic. Then they'll pounce on others who (they'll say) "rushed to judgment" and tried to slander Christians and conservatives by linking them to this deeply troubled man and this unfortunate incident that shows how much we need to reform mental health care in this country. (If it's discovered that he is, in fact, deeply political, the candidates will just double down on "genocide doesn't justify a violent response.")
But they don't even want to start the process right now. In part, that's because they hope they can pigeonhole the shooter as a crazy man -- but it's also because nobody wants to be first out of the gate even with a statement that passes right-wing litmus tests by condemning both the shooting and Planned Parenthood's work. Just saying something at all about this incident would be read in Iowa, South Carolina, and other states full of religious-right Republican voters as a sign of excessive sympathy with baby butchers.
So they won't say much -- at least not now.
UPDATE: Ted Cruz breaks the silence:
Praying for the loved ones of those killed, those injured & first responders who bravely got the situation under control in Colorado Springs— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) November 28, 2015
Well, it's a start.