Maddow: Alexandria shooter never contacted my show

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
Rachel Maddow (MSNBC)

Rachel Maddow responded Wednesday to the revelation that James T. Hodgkinson, the suspected gunman in the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., was a fan of hers.

Five people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and two Capitol Police officers, were wounded after Hodgkinson opened fire at the early-morning practice. Hodgkinson, a 66-year-old from Belleville, Ill., was shot by police and later died.

In letters to the Belleville News-Democrat, Hodgkinson called Maddow’s MSNBC program “one of my favorite TV shows.”

“On a recent show she stated that 17 very rich men are supplying the Republican Party with more than 60 percent of their campaign contributions,” he wrote in July 2012. “These men are trying to buy our country. You know they expect something for all this money. That something is that Mitt Romney and a Republican Congress won’t raise their taxes. We all know that the rich don’t pay enough taxes.”

“I should tell you we went through our correspondence today as soon as we got his name, as soon as we got that detail about him,” Maddow told viewers on Wednesday night. “We didn’t find evidence he ever sent anything to this show or tried to contact us at all.”

Related: Videos capture harrowing moments

“Obviously, the combination of the target of his attack — these Republican members of Congress — and the online evidence of his political views … has driven speculation, drawn concern about whether this was a politically motivated shooting,” Maddow continued. “And although we have a lot of shootings in this country, there have not been a lot politically motivated shootings over the history of this republic.”

“We will wait to see where the evidence leads,” she added.

Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., said Wednesday that Hodgkinson had contacted his office 10 times between June 2016 and May of this year.

“While he continually expressed his opposition to the Republican agenda in Congress,” Bost said in a statement, “the correspondence never appeared threatening or raised concerns that anger would turn to physical action. Had we any indication that Mr. Hodgkinson posed a threat to anyone’s safety, we would have taken the appropriate steps to alert U.S. Capitol Police immediately.”

On his Facebook page, though, Hodgkinson was highly critical of President Trump and posted several threatening messages.

“Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy,” he wrote in March. “It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”

Hodgkinson was also an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders, tweeting his support for the Vermont senator and reportedly volunteering for his presidential campaign.

Sanders strongly condemned the shooting in a speech on the Senate floor.

“I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign,” Sanders said. “I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be. Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society, and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.”

More on the shooting at GOP baseball practice: