CNN host challenges GOP lawmaker on white terrorism -- and he says Charleston massacre turned out 'great'
Rep. Sean Duffy (CNN)

A Republican congressman appeared Tuesday morning on CNN to push President Donald Trump's claims that the media ignores terrorist attacks by Muslims -- but Alisyn Camerota pushed back hard.

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) recited a litany of attacks committed by Islamic extremists in the U.S. and Europe and argued that Trump's legally questionable ban on travelers from certain Muslim nations could prevent future killings.

"If we can prevent another Boston or San Bernardino or Orlando, you know what, you're the new president -- I'm going to give you that space to do that," Duffy said. "Why can't we as a country come together and, as networks come together, give the guy a break? Let him protect us. Give him a shot."

Camerota asked Duffy why the president had not spoken about one of his supporters in Canada gunning down six Muslim worshipers at a Quebec City mosque, but the lawmaker didn't have an answer.

"Yeah, I don't know," Duffy said. "But I would just tell you that there is a difference. Again, death and murder on both sides is wrong. But if you want to take the dozens of scenarios where ISIS-inspired attacks have taken innocents, and you give me one example of what's happening, I think that was in Canada, I'm going to condemn them all. But again, you don't have a group like ISIS or al Qaeda that's inspiring people around the world to take up arms and kill innocents. That was a one-off."

Camerota interrupted the lawmaker, who then challenged her.

"Bring it on, Alisyn," Duffy said, laughing.

"You don't think there are white extremists?" Camerota said. "You don't remember Oklahoma City? You don't think that this guy who was involved in the mosque shooting said that he was inspired by things that he read online?"

Duffy conceded that the "New Day" host had provided a second example, but he dismissed Timothy McVeigh as not recent enough to be relevant.

Camerota asked the congressman if he remembered Charleston, where a white supremacist gunned down nine black worshipers in 2015, and she asked whether those killings mattered.

"No, it does matter," he said. "It does matter. Look at the good things that came from it. Nikki Haley took down the Confederate flag -- that was great. But you want to say, I can give you a couple examples, but there's no constant threat that goes through these attacks, and you have radical Islamic terrorists and ISIS that are driving the attacks, and if you want to compare those two, maybe you can throw another one."

Duffy then blamed "a Marxist, a leftist guy" for shooting former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ), which he incorrectly seemed to think "took her life," and then claimed violent attacks across the U.S. were aimed at people wearing Donald Trump hats.

"The left has to say violence is wrong," Duffy said, refusing to give Camerota an opening for additional examples.

She finally was able to break in, and pointed out that U.S. Muslims had been targeted for violence and swastikas had been painted on buildings across the country before asking him point blank what was the essential difference between white terrorists and any others.

"Why do you think that when it's a white terrorist, it's an isolated incident?" Camerota said.

Duffy refused to answer, and instead blamed Islamic State militants for inspiring terrorist attacks around the world as Camerota looked on in bewilderment.

"What's the heartbeat for the attack you referenced in the mosque or what happened in Charleston?" Duffy said.

Camerota identified extremism, hatred and white supremacy as those motivating factors, but Duffy dismissed those views as impossible to detect.

"Can we vet that?" Duffy said. "How should we vet that to keep ourselves safe? I'll join you in that effort. What do we do?"

Camerota was flabbergasted.

"Do you not think it was white supremacy that -- this is what the shooter said it was," she said.

"Yeah, it's horrible," Duffy agreed. "So what should we do? I'll join you. What do we do on the white supremacy front to make sure we don't have another attack like Charleston?"

Camerota suggested he could speak out and crack down on white supremacy as a form of violent extremism similar to radical Islam, and Duffy agreed.

"Sure, so let's crack down on ISIS," he said, and again promoted Trump's travel ban. "If we could have vetted that guy who went into the mosque in Canada or the guy who went into the church in Charleston and kept them from those deaths, wouldn't we do that?"