Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., theorized that one reason why so many Republican lawmakers were leaving office could be due to a fear of assassination, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.
Brooks spoke about Republicans' baseball practice on Wednesday which marked the first time lawmakers have taken to the field after last year's shooting — the same field where a gunman opened fire during a baseball practice where a number of team members were injured. He made the remarks during a radio interview on "The Dale Jackson Show."
"One of the things that's concerning me is the assassination risk may become a factor," he said about Republican lawmakers who have announced they were retiring.
"You have to wonder with that kind of disproportionate retirement number whether what happened in June played a factor," Brooks said.
Dozens of Republican lawmakers have announced they are leaving Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan who said earlier this month he would not seek re-election in this year's midterm elections.
Others among the more than 40 Republican lawmakers who announced they would retire, resign or pursue another office include Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.
Last June, a gunman attacked GOP lawmakers as they prepared to take the field in Alexandria, Virginia, for baseball practice. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., was nearly killed in the attack and continues to undergo surgeries related to injuries he sustained in the incident.
The gunman, identified as James T. Hodgkinson, reportedly was a volunteer for Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders when he ran for president as a Democrat in the 2016 presidential election. Brooks blamed the "socialist Bernie Sanders wing of society" for threats against lawmakers.
"There are a growing number of leftists who believe the way to resolve this is not at the ballot box but through threats and sometimes through violence and assassinations," Brooks said.
"I don't think any of these people who are retiring would say that, but just looking at the numbers … that's out of whack," he added.
Brooks also discussed investigations into threats against lawmakers, adding, "I have a congressman who is a friend here who has a three-year-old daughter whose daughter was threatened with murder."
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