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Senator slams Trump for influencing anti-Muslim terror attack

Sen. Richard Blumenthal reminded Trump that ‘words do have consequences.’

By Dan Desai Martin - March 15, 2019
Sen. Blumenthal

Trump’s longstanding practice of vilifying Muslims and immigrants is back in the spotlight after a white nationalist murdered 49 people in two New Zealand mosques.

On Friday morning, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) spoke on CNN about Trump’s hateful rhetoric, and called out those who continue to enable him despite the repercussions.

“Words do have consequences,” Blumenthal told host Alisyn Camerota. “We know that at the very pinnacle of power in our own country, people are talking about ‘good people on both sides,'” he added, alluding to Trump’s praise of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville in the summer of 2017. One of those white supremacists murdered a counter-protester.

Camerota jumped in, clarifying that Blumenthal is, indeed, talking about Trump.

“I think it’s more than the president — it’s the people who enable him and who fail to stand up to him and speak out,” Blumenthal said.

He brought the conversation back to Trump’s rhetoric about immigrants when describing the need for a national emergency at the southern border.

“Words have consequences, like saying we have an invasion on our border and talking about people as though they were different in some fatal way,” he said.

Blumenthal then went on to link Trump directly to the terrorist attack in New Zealand, saying, “I think the public discourse from the president on down is a factor in some of these actions.”

Camerota adds that the shooter put out a manifesto “connecting the dots” between hateful rhetoric and his own violent actions.

Trump campaigned on divisive rhetoric demonizing not only Muslims but also a wide range of immigrants. He kicked off his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants “rapists.” By the end of 2015, Trump called for a Muslim ban.

Once in office, Trump maintained his appeal to white nationalists, hiring advisors linked to Nazi groups and, as Blumenthal mentioned, praising those carrying Nazi flags as “very fine people.” He referred to the homeland of many Black immigrants as “shithole countries,” and has repeatedly demonized immigrants along the southern border as murderers and drug dealers as a way to energize and encourage his supporters.

Trump banked on using xenophobic and racist language to rally voters in the 2018 midterm election, but the plan largely backfired. Democrats won historic victories across the country and regained control of the House of Representatives.

But Trump has not slowed down, as Blumenthal mentioned, and continues to use anti-immigrant language in his reasoning for declaring a national emergency at the southern border.

And now, the world is seeing what that type of hateful rhetoric can lead to as a terrorist praised Trump before murdering 49 innocent people.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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