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Darren Bailey ripped for call to ‘move on’ after Highland Park parade shooting

The Republican candidate for Illinois governor drew major backlash on Monday after urging people to “move on” quickly from the deadly mass shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.

“Friends, let’s pray for the law enforcement and even the organizers of this parade. They’ve done an amazing job,” state Sen. Darren Bailey said during a Facebook live stream. “There’s a lot of confusion and frustration that the parade’s been canceled 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,” continued Bailey, who received heavy backing from incumbent Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Democratic Governors Association ahead of last month’s primary election on the theory that Bailey would be a weaker general election candidate.

The livestream was posted about two-and-a-half hours after the shooting took place — and while person of interest Robert Crimo III was still at large.

David Bailey (center) appears in a Facebook livestream following the deadly shooting.
Darren Bailey for Governor

Bailey later walked back his remarks and apologized if it came off that he “diminished the pain” felt across Illinois. 

“My intent was to pray for the victims and those affected by today’s tragedy and for the shooter to be caught and prosecuted without further loss,” he said in a statement obtained by Business Insider

“I apologize if in any way we diminished the pain being felt across our state today.”

Law enforcement escorts a family away from the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.
Law enforcement escorts a family away from the scene of the shooting at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park.
Getty Images

Monday’s shooting in Highland Park, which killed six people and wounded more than two dozen others, led to other July Fourth celebrations being canceled across the Chicagoland area — including in Skokie, where Bailey recorded the video statement.

During his call to “move on,” Bailey also made sure to remind his audience of the Nov. 8 election, saying voters “have got to get corruption and evil out of our government.” 

“We have got to elect men and women of honor and courage to get this country and this state back on track,” he added.

A police officer appears distraught after the July 4 massacre.
A police officer appears distraught after the July 4 massacre.
AP

Despite the quick walkback, Bailey was lambasted on social media over his remarks. 

“This is what happens with MAGA type candidates. They have been so trained with ‘own the libs’,” wrote outgoing Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) who also blasted Pritzker for boosting Bailey in the primary. 

“Also, Pritzker spent over $30 million to help this bad man win the GOP primary.  Sick of this yet America?”

Bailey later apologized for his choice of words.
Bailey later apologized for ‘move on’ comments.
AP

“Happy 4th of July from @DarrenBaileyIL Trump’s soulless candidate for governor of Illinois,” longtime sports journalist and political commentator Keith Olbermann tweeted. “After a mass shooting miles away Bailey sums up the @GOP: ‘let’s move on and celebrate the independence of this nation.’ To hell with him and all who support him.”

“It’s a lot easier to understand awful comments like this when you realize they’re all just really bad people,” said Tim Fullerton, an ex-staffer on former President Barack Obama’s campaign. 

Shannon Watts, founder of gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action, also chimed in, saying, “BOTH SIDES ARE NOT THE SAME: Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey after Illinoians [sic] are shot and killed in Highland Park and says, ‘Let’s move on and celebrate freedom.’ Let’s. Move. On. And. Celebrate. Freedom.”

Bailey faces a tough race in blue Illinois, where Chicago and its suburbs are dominated by Democrats.
Bailey faces a tough race in blue state Illinois, where Chicago and its suburbs are dominated by Democrats.
AP

Pritzker is a heavy favorite to win reelection in deep-blue Illinois, where Democrats dominate Chicago and its densely populated suburbs.



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