Republicans are not taking President Donald Trump’s impeachment well. Besides the members of Congress who this week have compared the impeachment proceedings to a range from the trial of Jesus — who was, of course, apparently crucified — to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that claimed the lives of thousands of Americans, Denver conservative radio host Chuck Bonniwell publicly wished for a “nice school shooting” to distract the nation from the impeachment process. His show has since been abruptly cancelled; in unsurprising fashion, following the cancellation reveal, he’s claimed he was “just joking.”
In his original remarks, he said:
‘Alright, Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden here a little after 1:30, talking about the never-ending impeachment of Donald Trump. You know, you wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt –‘
Co-host Julie Hayden abruptly interrupted him, saying:
‘No, no — don’t even. Don’t even say that. No, don’t even say that. Don’t call us. Chuck didn’t say that.’
— Kyle Clark (@KyleClark) December 18, 2019
Bonniwell added that this school shooting that he longed for could include no one getting actually hurt — but that’s not how school shootings work. Over and over again, American students have been wounded and killed while they were simply at school trying to go through their day. The anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting recently passed, which exemplifies the horrors. In that incident, the attacker shot and killed twenty young children, in addition to others including six adult staff members at the school. In the time since, further incidents have rocked the U.S. like the Parkland, Florida high school shooting in which 17 people were murdered. And Bonniwell thinks it’s a topic worth joking about, at least when he’s desperate enough about impeachment.
710 KNUS Denver, which had hosted Bonniwell’s show, explained shortly after the episode in question aired:
‘Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the Chuck & Julie show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell. A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.’
Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the Chuck & Julie show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell. A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.
— 710 KNUS Denver (@710KNUS) December 19, 2019
The Columbine High School massacre itself, which constituted a high-profile turning point in the intensification of American violence, took place a short distance outside Denver.
Bonniwell has refused to seriously acknowledge wrongdoing. In a Twitter post that he has apparently now deleted, he commented:
‘I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke. I’m sorry it was not received that way.’
Criticism poured in from people including those who lost loved ones in Denver-area shootings. John Castillo, whose son Kendrick Castillo was killed in a May shooting, commented that it’s “unbelievable that a radio host would suggest a school shooting to distract from the presidential impeachment.” Sandy Phillips, whose daughter was killed in a high-profile 2012 shooting at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater, added:
‘This guy should be fired. Total ignorance. Shootings hurt us all… just ask witnesses and first responders. You don’t have to be shot to be wounded.’
Unbelievable that a raido host would suggest a school shooting to distract from the presidential inpement. The Chuck and Julie show on knus 710
— John Castillo (@69bronco) December 18, 2019
— Sandy Phillips (@MamaRedfield) December 18, 2019
Bonniwell fits right in among Republicans. Besides their anti-impeachment theatrics that even included a disgraceful “moment of silence” on the House floor designated for Americans who voted for Trump — without reference to the many more Americans who did not — it’s not as though they’ve enacted any systematic change to address gun violence.