What does this group of 20 (mostly) white men have in common other than a life bathed in the pasty light of privilege and access, and probably some kind of bizarre sex fetish because they can? NRA money.
In the wake of the Orlando shooting which killed 49 people at Pulse, an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, the Washington Post updated its running list of NRA beneficiaries. According to the Post, the National Rifle Association has donated $3,782,803 since 1998 to 42 senators and 252 representatives. On Wednesday, The Nation gathered the top 20 “lifetime recipients” of donations from the NRA and recommended their constituents give them a call. I’m going to republish these names and numbers here because, what the hell? I’m sure they love the attention.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “I join the nation in mourning the loss of innocent lives in #Orlando, and offer my condolences to all the victims’ loved ones.”
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)
Response to Orlando shooting: None
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)
Response to Orlando shooting: In a blog post, he blamed the attack on ISIS. “Of course there has been a knee-jerk call for more gun control. (The New York Daily News’ headline the day after the shooting was “THANKS, NRA”). Some gay-rights activists are blaming the “Christian Right.” Planned Parenthood blames “toxic masculinity” (whatever that means.) It’s hard to believe how stupid some of these people are.”
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “The attack in #Orlando was an act of pure evil. My prayers are w/ the families of victims & the injured. We will continue seeking answers.”
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Orlando and everyone who was impacted by last night’s senseless attack.”
He later said that Pulse wasn’t an LGBT club: “It was a young person’s nightclub, I’m told. And there were some [LGBT people] there, but it was mostly Latinos.”
Sen. John Thune (R-South Dakota)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “Unthinkable tragedy in Orlando. Joining entire nation in mourning the loss of so many lives. Praying for their loved ones & the community.”
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho)
Response to Orlando shooting: He posted on Facebook, “Kathy and I are deeply saddened by the terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida that claimed the lives of innocent Americans. We send our deepest condolences to the families that lost loves [sic] ones in the deplorable act of violence, and pray for the victims and those injured. We are grateful for the heroic actions of our law enforcement and the first responders that continue to care for victims.”
Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama)
Response to Orlando shooting: He released a statement that read, in part: “It was disheartening to hear some in the media, and even the President in his initial remarks, use this tragedy as a means to push any type of political agenda relating to gun control. Terrorists by their very definition are criminals and will find a way get their hands on guns. What the president is proposing would take guns away from the very people who would defend themselves... That said, it is too soon to inject politics into the discussion.
Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky)
Response to Orlando shooting: He posted on Facebook, “While we await answers about the horrific shooting in Orlando, let us join in unity as a nation to extend our prayers and thoughts to the victims and their families. The tragic loss of human life on American soil is a grave reminder for us to remain vigilant and to simply love one another regardless of our differences. #PrayForOrlando.”
Rep. John Kline (R-Minnesota)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “Vicky and I extend our prayers to families of victims of terrorist attack in Orlando. Stark reminder we are at war w/ Islamist extremists.”
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia)
Response to Orlando shooting: He retweeted Rep. John Lewis, who tweeted, “Hate is too heavy a burden to bear. Love is the better way.” Other than that, nothing.
Rep. Ken Calvert (R-California)
Response to Orlando shooting: In a statement, he said: “Our hearts are broken once again in the wake of the horrific terror attack in Orlando by an Islamic jihadist. As we saw last December right here in the Inland Empire, The barbaric and cowardly actions of radicalized Islamists can have devastating consequences. In order to defeat and eliminate violent Islamic extremism, in all of its forms, we must take stronger and more effective actions both domestically and abroad. Let us honor the Orlando victims by strengthening our resolve to defend the liberties that make America the extraordinary nation it is, and committing to win this battle against violent Islamic extremists.”
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “Senseless, horrible attack and tragedy in Orlando. My prayers are with the victims, their families and the people of Orlando.”
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “My thoughts continue to be with all of those grieving from the act of terrorism Sunday in FL.Say [sic] a prayer for the victims and their families.”
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin)
Response to Orlando shooting: In a statement, Ryan doubled down on the need to defeat Islamic terror and said, “At the same time, let’s also be clear. Members of the LGBT community were the targets. They were simply attacked for who they are... This is an ideology that rejects who we are as a country: open, tolerant, free.”
He later rejected Trump’s Muslim immigration ban.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina)
Response to Orlando shooting: He tweeted, “ISIL’s global battlefield now includes the United States and we cannot stand idly by—we must take the fight to them. We must attack them where they raise funds, where they plan, and where they recruit. We must deny them their safe haven. I am not willing to accept the events in San Bernardino and Orlando as the new normal. Nor should anyone.”
He has since given several interviews.
Sen. David Vitter (R-Louisiana)
Response to Orlando shooting: He wrote on Facebook, “I am utterly devastated to hear of the horrific and hateful terrorist attack in Orlando, Florida that claimed the lives of at least 50 people and hurt over 50 more. This is a terrible tragedy affecting all Americans. Wendy and I are praying for Orlando and all the families affected.”
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Kentucky)
Response to Orlando shooting: He wrote on Facebook, “This weekend’s horrific attack is a devastating reminder of the threat radical Islamic terrorism poses to America. We grieve for the lost and pray for the wounded and extend our gratitude to the law enforcement officers who responded to the scene and medical personnel who continue to care for the injured. I hope the tragic loss of life in Orlando will unite our nation, just as it has in the past, to stand together against these cowardly acts of hate. “
Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania)
Response to Orlando shooting: He retweeted a Paul Ryan tweet (“We pray for those brutally attacked...”)
He has since come out against gun control amendments introduced by Democrats. He tweeted, “#Stigma continues when hijacked by ideology — #MentalIllness is #healthcare issue #PassHR2646.”
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas)
Response to Orlando shooting: He posted on Facebook, “Very tragic and sad news from Florida. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
One day later, he posted again, “We now know that the terrible tragedy in Orlando was a terrorist attack. We must do more to keep Americans safe at home. I continue to pray for the victims and their families.
Images via Wikimedia Commons.