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Ted Nugent swears off 'hateful rhetoric' in wake of Alexandria shooting

Entertainment Weekly logo Entertainment Weekly 6/16/2017 Oliver Gettell
© Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ted Nugent has promised to tone down his incendiary rhetoric, and he’s calling on friends and enemies alike to join him.

The rock musician and conservative firebrand said in a radio interview Thursday that he’s had a change of heart in the wake of the shooting in Alexandria, Virginia that left a Republican congressman and several others wounded and the suspect dead.

"At the tender age of 69, my wife has convinced me that I just can’t use those harsh terms," Nugent said on Curtis & Eboni, of WABC Radio in New York. "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."

He added, "I’m going to take a deep breath and I am going to back it down, 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."

As cohost Eboni Williams noted, Nugent has a history of making crass, outlandish, and threatening statements about Democratic leaders like Barack Obama, whom he once invited to "suck on my machine gun," and Hillary Clinton, whom he has said should be hanged for treason. In 2012, Nugent found himself face to face with the Secret Service after making menacing remarks about then-President Obama.

Nugent said Thursday, though, "I’ve got to get my psyche in tune [so] that I can still hold the ground - and I can be feisty, I can be fiery, I can be passionate. But I will avoid anything that can be interpreted as condoning or referencing violence."

He also contended, rather inaccurately, "I have never referenced violence; I’ve said some smart-ass stuff in the past."

Williams immediately challenged him, saying, "Come on, Ted. I think some people might have certainly taken it that way for sure."

Listen to Nugent’s full interview above.

Related video: Ted Nugent performs the National Anthem at a Trump rally (via NBC News)  

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