While Bernie Sanders responded appropriately to the shooting of GOP Congressmen, he was singing a different tune when the violence wasn’t conducted by one of his campaign volunteers.
In 2011, he blamed Sarah Palin for the shooting of Gabby Giffords, and waffled on about “violent rhetoric” on the right.
On January 11, 2011, three days after Loughner shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and murdered six people, Sanders sent out a fundraising email that, among other things, criticized Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for not doing more to condemn right-wing political rhetoric. Excerpt:
Nobody can honestly express surprise that such a tragedy finally occurred. […] Congresswoman Giffords publicly expressed concerns when Sarah Palin, on her website, placed her district in the cross-hairs of a rifle – and identified her by name below the image – as an encouragement to Palin supporters to eliminate her from Congress. […] In light of all of this violence – both actual and threatened – is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are able to participate freely and fully in the democratic process?
Have right-wing reactionaries, through threats and acts of violence, intimidated people with different points of view from expressing their political positions? My colleague, Senator John McCain, issued a very strong statement after the shooting in which he condemned the perpetrator of the attack. I commend him for that. But I believe Senator McCain and other Arizona Republicans need to do more. As the elder statesman of Arizona politics McCain needs to stand up and denounce the increasingly violent rhetoric coming from the right-wing and exert his influence to create a civil political environment in his state.
As noted by Reason, imagine how much more condemning he’d have been if Loughner had been a volunteer on the McCain/Palin ticket . . . or if his deranged supporter had supported Trump and shot at Democrats.