Congressman John Sullivan’s office released an apology after Sullivan made remarks about killing Senate Democrats.
At a Bixby Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, Sullivan said, “I’d love to get them to vote for it ... but other than me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them, I don’t think they’re going to listen unless they get beat,” in regards to getting Senate Democrats to vote for a budget approved by House Republicans.
FOX23 played an audio clip of Sullivan’s remarks for Tulsa voters.
“He's got some rage going on,” Pamela Witt said.
“(I am) disappointed, very disappointed,” William Avery told FOX23.
“That's just wow, all I could say was wow,” Cindy Beerenes said.
They could not believe that a congressman who has championed for civility in Washington succumbed to some of the most violent political rhetoric they said they had ever heard.
“I think he needs step down and let somebody do the job that's not out to harm somebody,” Witt said.
Avery would not go that far, but told FOX23, “He’s not thinking before he talks, and that's what we need, more thinkers that can get the issues done without the use of violence.”
Others believe Sullivan’s words are just a mistake, an off the cuff remark he would probably like to take back.
“I think he does truly think it was a mistake to say those words,” Megan Kane said.
“(He was) probably using it for theatrical impact,” Derrick Braddick told FOX23.
John Olson, a Democrat running for Sullivan’s seat, called Sullivan’s words, “disappointing at best and embarrassing for Oklahoma, especially in light of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords just over a year ago.”
Jim Bridenstine, a Republican running for the seat, heard the remarks first hand.
“I was there; I was at the town hall meeting. I thought they were inappropriate and unprofessional.”
Both men also agree, Sullivan’s remarks will reach far beyond Green Country.
“Oklahoma has a reputation in the United States, sometimes it's good, and sometimes it's bad. This is the kind of thing that Oklahoma doesn't need at the national level right now,” Bridenstine said.
Olson concurred, “I hate that people from other states look down on us. We should be something that other states look to as an inspiration.”
FOX23 repeatedly tried to speak with Representative Sullivan Thursday, but he refused our offers of an on-camera interview. Vaughn Jennings with Congressman Sullivan’s office released this apology about the statement on Thursday.
"The Congressman offers his sincere apologies to anyone he offended and for using a poor choice of words to make his point - which was that Senate Democrats are refusing to pass a budget or even vote on the 28 House passed jobs bills. Millions of American's are hurting – the Congressman feels their pain, and does not want his comments to deflect attention away the serious issues our country faces today, and he certainly does not condone any form of violence as a means to fix what is broken in Washington."
Sullivan is in his fifth term as a Congressman. He serves the First District which includes Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, and Tulsa.