Reports that Tucson Tea Party leader Trent Humphries is laying some of the blame for the shooting rampage on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords seem outrageous.
But they are out there, and they stem from comments Humphries made to the British newspaper The Guardian.
He said that if Giffords felt so threatened by the dialed-up rhetoric, he questioned why she didn't hired for her public appearance.
But the thing is, she apparently didn't feel so threatened..
From the Guardian:
"The real case is that she [Giffords] had no security whatsoever at this event. So if she lived under a constant fear of being targeted, if she lived under this constant fear of this rhetoric and hatred that was seething, why would she attend an event in full view of the public with no security whatsoever?" Humphries said.
Humphries is making reference to comments that Giffords made during an interview with MSNBC in March after her Tucson office was vandalized. At that time she said that the rhetoric was "incredibly heated" and pouring into her office via calls and e-mails. She said that people who use it needed to realize that it has consequences.
But she also said she wasnt' frightened.
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In an interview with the New York Daily News, Humphries says that his comments were taken out of context:
In a phone call with the News on Thursday, he said those comments were taken out of context and were meant to portray that there was little violence in Arizona politics before the shooting.
But, he said, the political rhetoric surrounding the shootings is leaving the Tea Party as an additional victim of the tragedy.
New Times has not yet been able to reach Humphries, who is listed as the contact person for the Tucson chapter of the Tea Party.