Sen. Bernie Sanders says he's "sickened" by alleged Virginia shooter who supported him

James Hodgkinson may have been a Bernie Sanders fan, but Sanders condemns him "in the strongest possible terms"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published June 14, 2017 12:58PM (EDT)

Bernie Sanders   (AP/Jae C. Hong)
Bernie Sanders (AP/Jae C. Hong)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is making it clear that James Hodgkinson — the man believed to have committed a mass shooting at a congressional baseball practice in the Virginia city of Alexandria, injuring Republican Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana in the process — does not speak for either him or his values.

In an official statement, Sanders said that he had heard that Hodgkinson had volunteered for his presidential campaign.

"I am sickened by this despicable act," Sanders wrote. "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."

He adds, "Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values."

Sanders also condemned the act on the floor of the Senate.

Sanders also felt compelled to openly ask his supporters not to engage in violence in June after protesters, some of whom supported him, attacked Donald Trump supporters in California.

"Any person who is a Bernie Sanders supporter, please, do not in any way, shape or form engage in violence," Sanders said at the time.

Hodgkinson was also reported to have been "distraught" at the election of Donald Trump last November, according to his brother Michael Hodgkinson. As he told The Washington Post, "I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going, the election results and stuff."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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