This past Tuesday Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) held a town hall meeting in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. During the question and answer session, one constituent asked a particularly outlandish question. As the Athens Banner Herald reports, the questioner asked, “Who’s going to shoot Obama?” The question apparently evoked laughter from the town hall meeting.
Rather than outright condemning the suggestion of violence, Broun tried to show empathy for the questioner by saying that he knows “there’s a lot of frustration with this president” and that he hopes we can “elect somebody who’s going to be a conservative” next year:
The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president that will take a smaller, who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Out of all of the members Congress, Broun has used perhaps the most vitriolic rhetoric to describe his political opponents, including Obama. He has previously said that Democrats want to take over “all of society,” that the president was spewing “venom” at the State of the Union, that the stimulus and health care laws were going to “kill” the elderly, that clean energy legislation would make southerners die from hyperthermia, and has compared Obama to Hitler, complete with a claim that the president is secretly assembling a version of the Hitler Youth.
In a statement provided to the Athens Banner Herald, a Broun spokesman said, “Obviously, the question was inappropriate, so Congressman Broun moved on.” Yet until Broun stops telling his constituents that all of his political opponents are plotting to kill Americans with diabolical fascist plots, he should expect more and more of them to think violence is justified.
UPDATE: The Secret Service was dispatched to investigate the constituent who asked the question and determined it was asked "in poor taste," but that it was not a serious threat.
UPDATE: Broun has released a statement saying that he "regrets" that the incident happened and that he condemns "all statements -- made in sincerity or jest -- that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the President of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated."