On Wednesday, June 14, a lone gunman opened fire on a group of Republican congressmen who were practicing for a charity baseball game. Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana received serious wounds in the attack. The nation generally expressed shock over these events and figures as diverse as President Donald Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for unity. One GOP Representative, Steve King of Iowa, however, decided to lay some of the blame at the feet of former President Barack Obama.
King argued in an interview with an Iowa radio station that Obama did not work hard enough to unite the country by focusing on commonalities. Instead, King believed that the former president focused on the differences that Americans have between themselves, and that this emphasis on the splits in American life led to more of the heightened tension that currently exists among American citizens.
Simon Conway, the host of the interview on WHO Iowa radio, then asked King who was responsible for healing this rift in American society and muffle the loudest and most radical elements of society. King stated, “Our whole society and culture has to come together on this,” and then went into an argument that this coming together has to begin at the family level with individual moms and dads leading their families in a way that encouraged more unity.
He also argued that parents need to be solid examples to their children and have more positive and proactive discussions around the dinner table, in churches and in schools. He then traced the current issues fundamentally as a breakdown in these core institutions. His prescription for healing went back to the idea of being united as individuals and as close to the individual level as possible, which tied into his remarks on the standing of the importance of families in the United States.
From this argument on how individuals and families needed to come together, King then continued with his remarks that held President Obama at least partially to blame for the environment that led to the tragic shooting of Republican Majority Whip Steve Scalise and three other attendees of the baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, on June 14.