Outspoken conservative rocker Ted Nugent has promised to do away with his "hateful rhetoric" after a gunman opened fire at a GOP baseball practice Wednesday morning, critically wounding House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. The attack has prompted calls for media and lawmakers of all political stripes to dial down their comments.
During an appearance on WABC's "Curtis & Eboni" radio talk show, Nugent admitted that he was re-evaluating his tough-guy approach after the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia.
"I'm a street fighter. I'm from Detroit. We use language in the street, we use certain harsh terms," he explained (hear audio below). "But at the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me that I just can't use those harsh terms. I cannot, and I will not, and I encourage even my friends-slash-enemies on the left in the Democrat and liberal world that we have got to be civil to each other, that the whole world is watching America, where you have the God-given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and we have got to be more respectful to the other side."
He continued: "But I have to clarify: we really are angry. We don't believe, we cannot believe that people on the left don't want secure borders. This is crazy to us."
Nugent, of course, has made threats against former President Obama several times in the past, including telling Obama to "suck on my machine gun." He also made inflammatory remarks about Hillary Clinton, calling her a "devilbitch" who "hates everything good about America."
In a lengthy Facebook post last year, Nugent said Obama and Clinton should be tried for treason and hanged over their handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
During the "Curtis & Eboni" interview, Nugent acknowledged his previous comments about Clinton and Obama, but said that the reason he engaged in such controversial rhetoric was because he was so hyped up and angry about the political climate.
"I'm not trying to make excuses, but when I made those wild-ass comments on stage against then-Senator Hillary Clinton and then-Senator Barack Obama, I don't know if you can grasp the degree of adrenaline and intensity and over-the-top animal spirit and attitude that I live on stage," he said.
He added that he will still be "feisty" and "passionate" when it comes to speaking his mind, but going forward, he said, "I will avoid anything that can be interpreted as condoning or referencing violence.
"I'm going to take a deep breath and I am going to back it down," he continued. "And if it gets fiery, if it gets hateful, I'm going away. I'm not going to engage in that kind of hateful rhetoric anymore."