West Virginia's Republican party issued a sharply worded statement on Monday accusing Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.VA) of using the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting for personal political gain. Full statement from Party Chairman Conrad Lucas below:
"This event should not be politicized. Our nation is in mourning for the tragic and senseless loss of these young souls. Joe Manchin's classless timing reveals both how insensitive and opportunistic he is. How dare Senator Manchin use a horrible situation to gain favor with liberal Washington insiders. The West Virginia Republican Party will absolutely not bring up platform stances on such a hot button issue while funerals are being planned. We strongly urge Senator Manchin to retract his comments, consider the needs and emotions of the families involved and leave politics for another time. A national discussion on preventing such catastrophes should and will take place later. Announcing such a position is cold, heartless, callous and embarrassing for West Virginia. Before Senator Manchin plans any trips to Iowa, he should reflect on how he has humiliated himself and our state."
Manchin, who has earned an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association, said earlier Monday that he wants to bring the powerful pro-gun lobby into the imminent discussion on gun control, indicating that he would be receptive to an assault weapons ban that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said she would introduce in the next Congress.