- The Washington Times - Friday, June 16, 2017

A Nebraska Democratic Party official is facing calls to step down after she appeared to mock grieving Congress members following Wednesday’s shooting in Alexandria, Virginia.

Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, chairwoman of the party’s Black Caucus, wrote in a Facebook thread about the shooting, “Watching the congressman crying on live tv abt the trauma they experienced. Y is this so funny tho?” according to the Omaha World-Herald.

She reportedly wrote later in the same thread: “Hard to be empathetic towards those that have no empathy for us. The very people that push pro NRA legislation in efforts to pad their pockets with complete disregard for human life. Yeah, having a hard time feeling bad for them.”

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is in critical condition after he was shot by a leftist gunman in an attempted assassination of Republicans at a congressional baseball practice. A congressional staffer, a lobbyist and two Capitol police officers were also injured. The suspect died following a shootout with police.

The Nebraska Democratic Party has condemned Ms. Gentry-Tipton’s comments, asking her to resign from her volunteer position.

Jane Kleeb, the party’s chairwoman, said, “The entire chain of comments is unacceptable and lacks any level of compassion for those who got shot.”

“Anyone who commits violence against anyone is wrong,” Ms. Kleeb told the World-Herald. “Anyone who makes insensitive comments about gun violence is wrong. For me that’s the end of the story.”

In another Facebook post, Ms. Gentry-Tipton refused to resign or apologize and said her comments were taken out of context.

“As a victim of gun violence, I understand that today’s events are deeply troubling. I don’t condone or find the humor in what happened,” she wrote in response to Ms. Kleeb. “I do however, see that misconstrued statements are more easily interpreted as damaging to those that want to believe them to be. There was context to what I said. I would have loved to discuss this context with you but you chose to act in haste, without consideration for my point of view and I am quite sure without receiving all of the information. This is troubling.

“It’s also troubling that gun violence affects the black community in a way that you clearly don’t understand and you are slow to react,” she continued. “What you choose to react to is some gossipy snippet of what I said and then call for my resignation.

“At this point, I am not resigning from my role as chair woman,” she wrote. “I believe that my post was taken out of context. I believe that there are people in the party that benefit from taking my post out of context. I don’t believe that you or anyone else is the arbiter of my words, voice or compassion for the Black community or otherwise.”

Ms. Kleeb said the party’s leadership cannot force Ms. Gentry-Tipton out of her position — it’s up to the caucus members who elected her. The caucus’ Facebook group appeared to be largely supportive of the chairwoman.

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