Musician Ted Nugent is known for speaking his mind about the Second Amendment and hunting, but especially on politicians. He once said then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama should “suck my machine gun.” When President Obama was running for reelection in 2012, the rocker said during the National Rifle Association convention that, “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” The statement attracted the attention of the Secret Service.
But after Wednesday's shooting at a congressional baseball practice, Nugent has decided to be “more selective with my rants and in my words.”
“At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me I just can’t use those harsh terms,” he said on the 77 WABC radio program Thursday. “I cannot and will not and I encourage even my friends, slash, enemies on the left, in the Democrat and liberal world, that we have got to be civil to each other.”
“I'm not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore.”
More recently his past comments about Obama and Hillary Clinton (“Obama & Clinton, that's who. They should be tried for treason & hung.") were invoked as what some saw as the right's hypocritical outrage over images of Kathy Griffin holding a mask of a bloody, severed head in the likeness of President Trump.
Nugent's change of heart comes as some Republicans and Democrats have also called for more civil political discourse. (Meanwhile, the Internet's pro-Trump personalities blamed the attack on liberals and the media).
Trump called for national unity after Wednesday's shooting, winning praise from even his late night show critics Stephen Colbert, who thanked him for “responding to this act of terror in a way that gives us hope, whatever our differences.” (Trump would soon be back at tweeting about “the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history.")
At the Congressional Baseball Game Thursday evening, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) told CNN that “What we're trying to do is tone down the rhetoric, lead by example and show people we can disagree with one another, we can have different ideas without being vitriolic, without going to such extremes.” Standing next to Ryan, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “Tonight we're all Team Scalise,” referring to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot during the attack and was reported to be in a critical condition.
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