A Northland man who grew up with James Hodgkinson, the shooter of Rep. Steve Scalise and four others, told Fox4kc that his childhood friend “couldn’t handle Trump.”
Although the Kansas City Star, among other media, tried to write the shooting off to “the meanness and polarization of the moment,” Ken Coverdell paints a much clearer picture of the evolution of his friend from Republican hater to assassin, stoked in no small part by the media’s raging anti-Trump fever.
Coverdell and Hodgkinson grew up in Belleville, Illinois, on the east side of the St. Louis metro. Coverdell describes the town as blue collar and once largely Democratic given the influence of the unions. “The one thing I do remember distinctly is that his father was a very staunch Democrat,” said Coverdell. “He hated Republicans.” That gene seemed to have passed along intact.
According to Coverdell, the town had a bar on every corner, and Hodgkinson developed a reputation as a fighter. “Tom was small in stature. He was only about 5′ 2″ right?” said Coverdell. “But he worked out all the time to make up for it. He was mean. He was bad. He would fight at the drop of a hat. That’s just the way he was.”
Hodgkinson’s height is not an irrelevant detail. Although presidents tend to be taller than average, presidential assassins or would-be assassins tend to be considerably shorter.
“I knew he was out there a little bit,” said Coverdell of Hodgkinson. “But I thought he was more normal. That he would not get the way that he did. I guess he just went over the top. He couldn’t handle Trump.”
As Fox4kc reports, Hodgkinson reportedly posted on his Facebook page: “Trump is a traitor. Trump has destroyed our democracy. It’s time to destroy Trump and company.”
“I think it just kept building up,” said Coverdell. “And over the years when Trump finally got into office, that just popped his cork.”