Phil Montag, an official from the Nebraska Democratic Party, has been removed after a recording leaked catching him in the act of celebrating the shooting of Republican U.S. Representative Steve Scalise. In the recording, he calls the House majority whip a “motherf**ker” for his support of the Republican Party’s stance on healthcare, and proceeds to say “I’m glad he got shot.” Montag has not denied that he was the man behind the voice in the recording, but did say that those words were somehow taken out of context. The recording reportedly took place in a private meeting between Montag, Nebraska Democratic Party Black Caucus Chair Chelsey Gentry-Tipton, and an unidentified third person. It’s unclear if Gentry-Tipton will be affected by this leak.
The chairwoman of the Nebraska Democratic Party, Jane Kleeb, reported the conversation to police because of the death threat nature of the recording, and immediately removed Montag from the party’s leadership. “Wishing a member of congress or any individual dead is disgusting and has no place in our party. I’ll leave that to the police to determine the next steps. That’s not my role.” Montag, meanwhile, wrote in an e-mail to the Omaha World-Herald, “Like every decent American I am saddened and horrified by the shooting of Congressman Scalise. I do not and did not wish for his death. I am hopeful that the entirety off the original, unedited recording will emerge so we can get to the truth of the matter.” Montag says the conversation where this recording was done took between 30 minutes and an hour.
Scalise was shot on June 14 at an Alexandria, Virginia baseball field during a practice session for a congressional baseball game; the gunman was shot on site by police and killed. He is still recovering in a hospital from surgery treating his injuries.