Republican Congressman Steve King Blames Obama For Virginia Shooting

Iowa Congressman Steve King says former President Obama is partly to blame for this week’s shootings at a practice by Republican Members of Congress for this year’s Congressional Baseball Game:

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) is pointing a finger at former President Barack Obama for the attack on Republican lawmakers at a baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, on Wednesday.

“I do want to put some of this at the feet of Barack Obama,” the congressman said in an interview with Simon Conway on WHO Iowa radio. “He contributed mightily to dividing us. He focused on our differences rather than our things that unify us. And this is some of the fruits of that labor.”

Earlier Wednesday, King stopped by the crime scene to pray and told The Washington Post: “America has been divided. And the center of America is disappearing, and the violence is appearing in the streets, and it’s coming from the left.”

King repeated his claims on Twitter:

Of course, as The Huffington Post notes, King himself has a long history of inflammatory rhetoric:

In 2016, King said on “All In With Chris Hayes” on MSNBC that people who are white have contributed to civilization more than any other “subgroup.”

In March, he suggested that Muslim children were preventing “our civilization” from being restored.

And in April, when a King staffer failed to show up for a meeting with a Latina constituent who called him out for the runaround, he responded with a tweet that said, “Do you always lie in English?”

South Carolina Republican Mark Sanford says we should be looking to the current occupant of the White House, not the former one:

In the wake of the tragedy that unfolded yesterday at a GOP members baseball practice, one Republican congressman is arguing that the president is “partially to blame” for the severe divide in politics currently plaguing the nation.

“I would argue that the President is at least in partially — again not in any way totally, but partially to blame for demons that have been unleashed,” Mark Sanford, R-SC, said on MSNBC.

While Sanford initially noted that the events were “surreal,” he believes that the event is a time to reflect and reconsider the state of our nation.

He noted that the polarization now seen in Congress is the most extreme it has been in the “roughly 20 years” he’s been in politics.

These “demons” were recently observed by Sanford while attending a constituent senior center, where residents freely exchanged expletives when arguing over political issues.

Though Sanford was careful not to blame Trump entirely, he said of Congress members: “we ought to call” Trump’s behavior “bizarre.”

King’s claims are, of course, absurd. While there was plenty to criticize about President Obama, the idea that he was divisive is utterly absurd, unless you consider the fact that he was constantly under attack from conservatives to be “divisive.” As for Sandford’s comments, all I will say is that Donald Trump’s words, and actions, speak for themselves.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Mark Ivey says:

    “King’s claims are, of course, absurd.”

    But not in Fox World . . . . . .

  2. MarkedMan says:

    This is nothing new for King. He has made outrageous, racist, anti-LGBT comments by the score. What kind of people live in Iowa that they would continually put this guy forward as their representative?

  3. Franklin says:

    I don’t personally recall any rhetoric from Obama suggesting to take up arms. I do recall that Trump asked for “Second Amendment people” to stop Hillary.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    My respect for Mark “walking the Appalachian trail” Sandford grows, unlike the other 99% of Republicans.

  5. Mr Bluster says:

    REPUBLICAN Presidential Candidate Donald Trump June 2016.
    To be clear. Donald Trump is talking about Hillary Clinton.

    “I think her bodyguards should drop all weapons. Disarm immediately,” Trump said. “Take their guns away, let’s see what happens to her.”
    “Take their guns away, OK? It’ll be very dangerous,” he added.

    Is there any record of any REPUBLICAN criticizing Donald Trump for this statement?

  6. Mr Bluster says:

    What kind of people live in Iowa that they would continually put this guy forward as their representative?

    Iowa Demographic Statistics

  7. Pch101 says:


    Generally speaking, there are two kinds of Republicans:

    -Those who are fond of racists
    -Those who are largely indifferent to racists

    The first group would define “racist” as “minorities who complain about racism”, so there are no Republican racists — as far as they are concerned, all the racists are Democrats.

    The second group would define “racist” as “someone who says ‘n**ger and lynches people”, so there are no Republican racists.

    Funny how things are in Bizarroland.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    the idea that he (Obama) was divisive is utterly absurd

    He was black.

  9. Jen says:

    King complaining about the center of America disappearing is flat-out odd, considering Tea Party types are constantly calling center-right politicians “RINOs”.

    He’s obnoxious and really should be ignored.

  10. Gustopher says:

    The man is a blithering idiot, a racist, and puts Party ahead of Country at every occaision.

    And his statements here are not out of the Republican mainstream. He’s wrong, of course, unless he’s referring to those divisive, arrogant, presumptuous columns at Obama’s convention speech…

  11. KM says:

    For them, it’s always Obama’s fault. If it is somehow not, then it’s Hillary’s. The meme used to be “Thanks, Obama!” to pin blame on the former President in any situation.

    In light of the fwckup currently in the White House, I propose we change it to “Damnit, Trump!”.. Just as applicable but far more accurate. As in “Look at this pathetic Representative trying to pin something on Obama just because that’s all he’s been doing for a decade. Damnit, Trump!”

  12. mike shupp says:

    Elsewhere in the conservative world. I notice that Alex Jones has stopped referring to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. It is now “the Trump assassination play.”

    And this is really too good a label to neglect. Let us all forget the play’s elder title and begin referring to it everywhere as “The Trump Assassination Play” Let us use this title in scholarly texts and in college English classes. Let children all across this great land come home to tell their parents, “We’re reading the Trump Assassination Play in English and I get to be the Mitch McConnell character! Friends, New Yorkers, Countrymen, Lend me your ears…”

    A thousand years from now, let that great title resound in history. obscuring any memory of any other title for the work. Thus will our own age be properly remembered for all eternity!

  13. al-Ameda says:

    I think it’s time for Steve King to greet the comet Hale-Bopp with his Heaven’s Gate Away Team. Give him his black track suit, a pair of new black Nike shoes, and a monogrammed duffel bag. His going away applesauce is ready, with some nice designer Russian vodka to wash it all down. A Ukrainian attendant will pull the purple shroud over his head. Adios Steve, I’m sure many in Iowa will miss you.

  14. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jen: Shows how little you know–it’s not a continuum, it’s a coin. Everyone who is not a true-blue (or should that be red?) Republican is a leftist. You’re either Right or your wrong.

  15. teve tory says:


    I would say it is a true statement that Obama was the most divisive president in history.

    In the same way that in 1947 Jackie Robinson was the most divisive MLB player in history.