Congressional baseball shooter letters dent ‘suicide by cop’ claim: ‘I never said life sucks,' only GOP policy
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Illinois left-wing activist James Hodgkinson, who tried to kill more than two dozen congressionalRepublicans, volunteers and police at a Virginia baseball field in 2017 before being gunned down by responding officers, was known to frequently make anti-Trump and anti-GOP posts on social media.
The 66-year-old also wrote numerous letters to his hometown newspaper, the Belleville News-Democrat, blasting conservatives and their policy between 2008 and 2012.
He wrote that he loved then-President Barack Obama and Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, as well as the ongoing Occupy Wall Street protests – while calling former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney "traitors to their country."
This 2012 file photo shows James Hodgkinson of Belleville protesting outside the United States Post Office in Downtown Belleville, Ill. (Derik Holtmann/Belleville News-Democrat/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
Everyone Hodgkinson praised, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, whose 2016 presidential campaign he had volunteered for, condemned the attack.
The paper’s executive editor and general manager, Jeffry Couch, did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
But following the assassination attempt, which nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise and Tyson Foods lobbyist Matt Mika, as well as leaving two others with gunshot wounds and the gunman dead, the paper published a collection of the attacker’s letters on its website to shed some light on his views.
The thwarted 2017 mass shooting is gaining renewed attention after Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who was present at the shooting, revealed during a House Intelligence Committee hearing last week that the FBI had concluded it had been an attempt at "suicide by cop."
Capitol Police Special Agents Crystal Griner, left, and David Bailey, right, assist U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise to his position at second base at the start of the 57th Congressional Baseball Game at National's Park in Washington, Thursday, June 14, 2018. ((AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Several survivors have disputed that characterization, and their view appears to be supported by Hodgkinson’s own actions and words.
"I have never said ‘life sucks,’ only the policies of the Republicans," he wrote to the News-Democrat on Aug. 28, 2012
Before the shooting, he asked whether the people on the ballfield were Republicans or Democrats, and during a 10-minute gunbattle, he moved "tactically" and tried to fight off responding officers with an overwhelming supply of ammunition, witnesses told Fox news.
In his letters, he often bashed Republicans and called for increasing taxes on the rich.
"There’s a new version of what GOP stands for," he wrote on Dec. 28 2011. "It’s not the Grand Old Party anymore. It’s the Greedy One Percenters."
He slammed Republican lawmakers and commentators by name, singling out Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Mitt Romney and former President Ronald Reagan.
"Let’s vote all Republicans out of Congress, and get this country back on track," he wrote on July 8 2012.
And in 2008, he wrote that he wished John Kerry had won the 2004 election.
"I could afford $3.50 for a bottle of catsup," he said. "I just can’t afford $3.50 for a gallon of gas."