(Editor’s note: As of 1:26 p.m. EST, James Hodginkson’s Facebook page has been taken down.)
James Hodgkinson, the Illinois man who opened fire on congressional Republicans during baseball practice on Wednesday morning, maintained an anti-Trump and anti-Republican presence online — both on his Facebook page and in the letters to the editor he submitted to the Belleville News-Democrat.
In his letters to the editor, Hodgkinson railed against Republicans, most specifically on economic issues, and accused both conservative policies and whom he viewed as corrupt GOP politicians of perpetuating income inequality.
“I have never said ‘life sucks,’ only the policies of the Republicans,” he wrote in one letter.
He appeared to be extremely angry with congressional Republicans, whom he alleged were allowing the nation’s rich to buy their votes. He frequently called for voting “all Republicans out of Congress,” but never suggested violence in the letters. His criticisms extended to conservative pundits as well, saying Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh “speak their lies and hatred and misdirection to anyone who will listen.”
Most recently on Facebook, Hodgkinson wrote, “Trump is a Traitor. Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy. It’s Time to Destroy Trump & Co.”
He often shared political cartoons making fun of Republicans, referred to them as “so stupid” after calling Senator Lindsey Graham in particular a “bigoted racist,” and accused congressional Republicans of hating Americans. Additionally, he also shared political cartoons criticizing President Trump and his supporters.
Before unloading at least dozens of bullets on the field, it was reported that Hodgkinson asked whether those practicing were Republicans or Democrats, leading many to believe GOP congressmen were specifically targeted in the attack.
I have just been informed that the alleged shooter at the Republican baseball practice is someone who apparently volunteered on my presidential campaign. I am sickened by this despicable act. 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. Real change can only come about through nonviolent action, and anything else runs against our most deeply held American values.