CNN's State Of The Union Panel Slams Trump's Rhetoric For Inspiring Violence At His Rallies

S.E. Cupp: “I Firmly Believe Donald Trump Is Responsible For Setting The Tone At His Rallies”

From the March 20 edition of CNN's State of the Union:

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DANA BASH (HOST): Sarah, I'll start with you since you're on the Trump payroll. What do you think? Do you believe that he's doing enough to stop these protests?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: You know, I don't think that there's anything in Donald Trump's rhetoric that is inviting or inciting violence. I want to know sometimes where the outcry is when Barack Obama was saying, “the GOP is putting a gun to the Americans' heads” and things like that. There was no outcry over that language. Donald Trump isn't saying, “let's start a riot” or “let's create violence.” You have people that are coming in, creating a scene, into a very passionate, fired-up crowd and expecting no consequences. I made the kind of comparison earlier as a Southerner with a couple of fellow Southerners here. If I went in to an LSU game saying LSU Tigers are losers and expected no one to say anything to me and for there not to be any consequences, I think that would be a big mistake, and I think that we're, you know, putting all the blame on Donald Trump, and not putting any of it on the protesters themselves. And I think that's a big problem.

BAKARI SELLERS: I think the comparison -- and I've heard those talking points from many Trump surrogates to what Barack Obama said, is just intellectually disingenuous because of the simple fact that that was just an analogy, and none of his supporters took that seriously. But when Donald Trump is out there saying, “I'm going to punch him in the face,” when Donald Trump is calling Mexicans rapists, when he's insulting every single ethnic group and every person, the only group that Donald Trump hasn't insulted right now has been white men, for all practical purposes. And he's gone down the list and insulted everybody. You cannot say that his rhetoric is not partially to blame for this. And I hope that Donald Trump, because he's not at a college football game, he's not with a bunch of co-eds. He's running for the president of the free world. And my hope is that he elevates his rhetoric and the discourse. 

BASH: Dick, I want to bring you in because you said that this reminds you of 1968.

DICK HARPOOTLIAN: Well, again, we have the same kinds of tensions. There was the establishment campaigns of Richard Nixon, others, that were sort of disrespecting the protesters, the folks that were against the Vietnam War that were for social justice. And it boiled over into, for those of us that were alive in 1968, into a major confrontation with people getting clubbed, jailed, prosecuted. Is that what's going to happen in Cleveland? I mean is that really where this is headed? And I would disagree with the Trump folks that say they're merely expressing the disenchantment of the silent majority, perhaps? Maybe those words come back? This is what we call in the South, we grew up with this, dog-whistle politics. That is their constituency hears it, the racist, the sexist, the xenophobic, blaming other people, whether they're brown-skinned Mexicans or brown-skinned Muslims, people that aren't like us. And that's what's going on here. 

S.E. CUPP: I don't think it's a dog whistle, I think it's a dog scream. I don't think they're trying to hide it at all. And I firmly believe Donald Trump is responsible for setting the tone at his rallies. But even if you think Donald Trump isn't totally to blame or there's blame to go around, I think it's inarguable that Donald Trump is an incredibly divisive person. Whether that's his fault or, you know, the environment or the President Obama's, you know, creation, it doesn't really matter at this point. Here's where we are. And what a leader does with an angry electorate is the real test. I think Obama has met an angry electorate and dismissed a lot of the fears. He's been a little condescending. I think Trump is meeting that anger with more anger. And I don't really think that that's creating an environment to elect a leader to bring the country together. He talks about unifying. I think that's a joke.