House Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) is receiving national attention after a spectator at one of his recent town hall meetings in Athens, Ga. asked, “Who will shoot Obama?”
According to The Athens-Banner Herald, the question came after the congressman first asked who had driven the farthest to attend the Feb. 22 town hall meeting. After the attendee blurted the comment, the crowd began to laugh.
Without apparently condemning the comment, Broun, according to the Banner-Herald, nevertheless responded by stating, “The thing is, I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president. We’re going to have an election next year. Hopefully, we’ll elect somebody that’s going to be a conservative, limited-government president…who will sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
After the incident drew national headlines and criticism toward Broun for not immediately condemning the comment, he released a statement Feb. 23 expressing his thoughts after the spectator’s question and his reason for not condemning it.
“I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question,” Broun said in a statement, according to The Politico newspaper. “After the event, my office took action with the appropriate authorities. I deeply regret that this incident happened at all. Furthermore, I condemn all statements–made in sincerity or jest–that threaten or suggest the use of violence against the president of the United States or any other public official. Such rhetoric cannot and will not be tolerated.”
According to The Washington Post, Secret Service officials got in contact with the person who made the comment and found that it was an “elderly person who now regrets making a bad joke.”
Broun drew criticism last month for one of his tweets during President Obama’s State of the Union address. According to Politico, Broun tweeted, “Mr. President, you don’t believe in the Constitution, you believe in socialism.”
The next day, he declined to back down from his comments, telling CBS News, “I stick by that tweet.”