Bernie Sanders on Wednesday condemned as a "despicable act" the shooting at a GOP congressional baseball practice perpetrated by a former volunteer for his presidential campaign.
"Let me be as clear as I can be," the Vermont independent senator said in a floor speech about the attack that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and several others wounded.
"Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms."
The perpetrator of the attack, identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Ill., highlighted Sanders prominently on his Facebook page, also posting harshly critical rhetoric about President Donald Trump and disavowing the Hillary Clinton campaign. Some House Republicans on Wednesday have aired concerns that heated political rhetoric prompted the shooting, but none have singled out Sanders.
"Real change can only come through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values," Sanders said.
On his way to deliver the speech, Sanders declined to answer questions from a reporter about Hodgkinson. In his speech, he also thanked the Capitol Police for their work disarming the shooter and expressed hope for the victims’ recovery.