Real Time host Bill Maher suggested on Friday that Charleston terrorism suspect Dylann Roof was a fan of conservative media outlets.
“We can never know why somebody snaps — but I bet you I know where he got his news,” Maher told senior Daily Caller contributor Matt Lewis. “I looked at your website the last week. It was a lot of stories about black people. A lot of stories. Same with Matt Drudge. I think they present a twisted view. I’m not surprised this guy thought, ‘They’re taking over the country.'”
Lewis pushed back by bringing up Maher’s film Religulous.
“You did a documentary that was anti-religion,” he said. “This guy goes into a church and shoots up a church. I would not accuse you of inspiring people to act violently because of your anti-religious rhetoric. That would be wrong of me to do.”
MSNBC contributor Joy Ann Reid immediately called Lewis’ argument a “non sequitur,” arguing that religion was not the point of Roof’s attack against the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, pointing out its storied history.
“He didn’t go to a bowling alley,” Lewis protested. “He didn’t go to a rock concert.”
Rep. Luis Gonzalez (D-IL) compared a statement attributed to Roof — that he committed the attack because he was angry that black men were “raping” white women — to the Tea Party’s anger against President Barack Obama.
“There was this fear that somebody took away their country,” Gutierrez said, adding, “Donald Trump and that young man had one thing in common one week: Donald Trump said that Mexicans come to this country not to work, but to rape women, and he repeated it,” Gutierrez argued. “There is a correlation between what you say and what people do.”
Lewis again tried to argue for religion as a motivation for Roof, only to be cut off by Maher and Reid.
“If you look even at the three flags that this young man adhered to, the Confederate flag emblem on his car, the Rhodesian flag and the South African flag from Apartheid[-era] South Africa, all three of those purported to be Christian governments,” Reid said. “The white Christian government in South Africa, which ruled over the majority-black population; in Rhodesia, the violent white government that ruled over that population considered themselves quite Christian. [Roof] could’ve been completely embraced in what those governments stood for.”
Watch the discussion, as posted online on Friday, below.