Illinois state Senator Darren Bailey, a Republican who has received Donald Trump's endorsement in the state's gubernatorial race, was accused of being tone-deaf after he urged his supporters to "move on" and "celebrate" Independence Day after a mass shooting during a parade in Highland Park. The shooting resulted in six deaths and thirty-six injuries.
Less than two hours after the shooting, Bailey posted a Facebook Live video from Skokie, about 20 minutes south of Highland Park, where he’d planned to attend a parade.
While he noted that several people had been shot and called for prayers for the families, law enforcement, and organizers of the Skokie parade, he urged his supporters to "go about our day celebrating the most amazing country." The parade, along with other events throughout the area, had been abruptly canceled due to the fears of further violence
You can hear Bailey's remarks in the video below.
Bailey, who began by praising law enforcement for taking swift action, said:
“They’ve done an amazing job. There’s a lot of confusion and frustration that the parade’s being cancelled, but they did the right thing because people’s safety has got to come first."
“The shooter is still at large, so let's pray for justice to prevail and then let’s move on and let’s celebrate the independence of this nation.”
Bailey added that voters need to “get corruption and evil out of our government," remarks that were greeted with enthusiasm by his supporters, many of whom carried "Fire Pritzker" signs, a reference to J.B. Pritzker, the state's Democratic governor who has often criticized former President Trump's policies.
But his remarks were not well received, and he later issued an apology, "if in any way we diminished the pain being felt across our state today," adding that he hoped, "we can all come together in prayer and action to address rampant crime and mental health issues to make sure these horrific tragedies don’t happen again.”
People took to social media to criticize Bailey.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office identified the shooter as 22-year-old Robert Eugene Crimo III. Crimo was arrested eight hours after the shooting began and has yet to be formally charged. Of the deceased victims, five died at the scene and another died at the hospital.
Bailey, meanwhile, has previously courted controversy for his stance against comprehensive gun control. Earlier this year, he held a "gun raffle drawing event" to raise funds for his campaign.