The hate group known as the Southern Poverty Law Center was forced to release a statement distancing itself from the man who shot Republican lawmakers and staff as they practiced for a charity baseball game Wednesday, after it came to light that the shooter "liked" the SPLC's Facebook page.
James T. Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who shot Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four others, was killed on the scene by police officers. His social media posts and other evidence identified him as a GOP-hating, Bernie Sanders supporter. Among the groups he "liked" and followed on Facebook was the SPLC, which regularly demonizes conservatives as bigots and racists and labels rightwing organizations as hate groups.
Richard Cohen, the president of the SPLC, said in a statement,
“The attack on members of Congress and their staffs today was a sickening and cowardly act of terror that must be condemned by everyone across the political spectrum. Any violent attack on our political leadership is an attack on our democracy.
“We’re aware that the SPLC was among hundreds of groups that the man identified as the shooter ‘liked' on Facebook. I want to be as clear as I can possibly be: The SPLC condemns all forms of violence.”
“We have worked for decades to combat domestic terrorism and violence based on hate. Our hearts are with those who were injured today and the families of all who have been affected by this deplorable act. We hope and pray for their full recovery.”
In its Spring “Intelligence Report” in 2015, for example, the SPLC noted that Scalise "hails from the same Louisiana parish" as David Duke and other well-known white supremacists, suggesting that mere proximity casts suspicion on him.
In another example, the SPLC attacked Scalise in December of 2014 for allegedly speaking at a gathering a dozen years earlier which included white supremacists. The SPLC wrote, "Scalise claimed yesterday that he had no idea of the views promoted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), whose workshop he addressed in 2002 at a hotel in Metairie, La... But Scalise’s claim of ignorance is almost impossible to believe,” SPLC wrote. “He was a state representative and an aspiring national politician at the time, and Louisiana-based EURO already was well known as a hate group led by America’s most famous white supremacist.”
So the Southern Poverty Law Center has no problem painting rightwingers as racist scum but claims innocence when those rightwingers are targeted for death.