In a weekend interview on Fox News Sunday, 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina spoke out about Friday's deadly shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, CO. Fiorina said that the attack — in which a gunman reportedly killed three people — was a "tragedy," but she didn't stop there. The presidential hopeful accused the public of using "typical left-wing tactics" to link the anti-abortion movement with the Planned Parenthood shooting. "This is so typical of the left, to immediately begin demonizing the messenger because they don't agree with the message," Fiorina said Sunday. Her comments, however, are incredibly tone-deaf: Anti-abortion politicians often attack news outlets' coverage of issues they don't agree with, such as abortion rights. Fiorina's statements are also ironic, considering how heavily she emphasized the videos that allegedly depicted Planned Parenthood employees selling fetal body parts (a claim that has been debunked, as the videos were shown to have been highly edited). Fiorina's statements also ignored the fact that the alleged shooter, Robert Lewis Dear, reportedly said, "No more baby parts" to police officers when he was asked what motivated his attack. On Sunday morning, Planned Parenthood tweeted, "We now know the man responsible for the tragic shooting at PP's health center in CO was motivated by opposition to safe and legal abortion."
Fiorina also seemed to contradict herself in the interview: Though she denied the link between the Colorado shooting and the anti-abortion movement, she also said that protesters, including "pro-life" protesters, should be peaceful. Fiorina wasn't the only GOP presidential candidate to make an off-putting statement about the shooting. In a Meet the Press interview Sunday, Donald Trump told NBC's Chuck Todd that the shooter was "mentally disturbed," though he also mentioned that "a tremendous group of people" are upset about the Planned Parenthood videos. In reality, a majority of Americans support Planned Parenthood and want to see the government continue to fund the group. Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee also called the shooting an act of "extremism" and "terrorism," respectively, but none of the GOP candidates directly stated that the shooting may have been an act of anti-abortion violence. When candidates refer to themselves as "pro-life," it would be consistent if they defended life at all stages, and not just before birth. Instead of using the tragedy as an outlet to discuss their political agendas by mentioning the Planned Parenthood videos, candidates should consider questions such as how to support new parents with health care or child care, or how to prevent gun violence.