U.S. Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., on Wednesday raised eyebrows when she said in a radio interview that many mass murderers “end up being Democrats.”
Tenney, who was interviewed a week after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., was criticized for the comments.
Democrats condemned the first-term Republican's claims and called for her to apologize.
State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, who is her expected Democratic challenger this fall, said her rhetoric was “toxic” and “a new low.”
During an interview with Fred Dicker on his Talk 1300 Radio show “Focus on the State Capitol,” Tenney and the host discussed calls for stricter gun control, the New York Times reported.
“Most gun crimes are occurring in what’s euphemistically called the inner cities involving minorities and they’re the ones the Democrats generally are going to bend over backwards to protect,” Dicker said.
Tenney then responded with, “Obviously, there’s a lot of politics in it. And it’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats. But the media doesn’t talk about that either."
She did not present any evidence to support her claim, USA Today reported.
Tenney's campaign issued a statement Wednesday.
“While we know the perpetrators of these atrocities have a wide variety of political views, my comments are in response to a question about the failure to prosecute illegal gun crime,” she said. “I will continue to stand up for law-abiding citizens who are smeared by anti-gun liberal elitists.”
Evan Lukaske, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, issued a statement in response to Tenney’s comments Wednesday.
“Once again Congresswoman Tenney has demonstrated how completely unfit she is to serve in Congress,” Lukaske said. “Tenney’s comments are unhinged, shameful and disgusting, and show why voters will replace her next November.”
Tenney was first elected in 2016, and her district covers a large area of central New York, including Binghamton, Utica and Rome.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.