A CNN panel on Friday shamed President Donald Trump for an escalation of violent rhetoric that occurred just hours before a gunman murdered dozens of Muslims at a mosque in New Zealand.
In particular, panelists Joe Lockhart and David Gregory called out the president for boasting about his support among the military and the police, and suggesting that they could do something “very bad” if political events in America reached “a certain point.”
“Words matter,” Lockhart said. “This is the president of the United States, and it doesn’t matter what his motivations are, people listen and in some cases they act upon it.”
Gregory then launched a preemptive strike against Trump supporters who defend the president by claiming that his rhetoric is just for show and not meant to be taken seriously.
“If we live in an age where we say, ‘Well, we’re not going to take him literally, it’s just Trump being Trump,’ that doesn’t pass,” he said. “That’s ridiculous. I mean, Joe’s exactly right: Words matter because the presidency is about something more than the occupant.”
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota then played a super cut of Trump using violent rhetoric on the campaign trail, such as the time when he encouraged followers to “knock the crap out of” protesters.
After watching the clip, Lockhart remarked that this isn’t mere “partisan rhetoric” the president is engaging in.
“This is dangerous,” he said.
Watch the video below.
White House lawyers’ Trump defense ‘deteriorated’ as they tried to make the case for the president: CNN’s Toobin
As President Donald Trump's legal team put forward their defense of the president's Ukraine scheme at the impeachment trial on Saturday, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin weighed in on the effectiveness of what they had presented.
"There was information put forth today that would allow Republicans to vote against witnesses and to vote for an acquittal," acknowledged Toobin, offering as an example that the team did a good job at creating doubt over when the Ukrainians knew the foreign aid was cut off. However, "after that I thought it deteriorated."
"I was surprised that Jay Sekulow, who I think is a very fine lawyer, seen him argue in the Supreme Court several times, wandered in the wasteland of the Mueller report, that didn't seem relevant," said Toobin. "Mr. Philbin, who is not a spellbinding performer, went on about how it was legitimate in their view not to respond to subpoenas, not to provide any witnesses by the Trump administration. I thought that was a particularly weak performance. But, you know, if you are inclined to the defense point of view, there were facts and arguments to justify your position this morning."
Preet Bharara hints at ‘a whole bunch of Pandora’s boxes’ that could still be opened in Trump impeachment trial
On CNN Saturday, in response to the new video evidence of President Donald Trump discussing fired U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara walked through a major remaining risk to Trump and Senate Republicans in the impeachment trial.
"Just to back up, one of the things that Lev Parnas has been publicly talking about, there's — seems like there's no appetite to have Lev Parnas or anyone else as witnesses on the Republican side," said anchor Anderson Cooper. "Does this tape matter at all?"
"I think it matters in terms of context," said Bharara. "I think it shows the language that Trump used, what his state of mind was. You know, if you look at the strict transcript of the tape, arguably, you could say, look, there was an ambassador, claimed to be bad mouthing the president and claimed he'll be impeached. They had a mission to get rid of the ambassador because they had a different political errand, I guess. So, it's not crazy to argue, if you're just looking at this in isolation, that someone is saying that the president is going to get impeached. She works for the president of the United States in an ambassadorial capacity. He might have a reaction to that."
‘Fear and laziness’: CNN’s Avlon exposes Republican motives for blocking Trump impeachment witnesses
On CNN Saturday, fact-checker John Avlon broke down all the reasons Senate Republicans still appear to be firmly in President Donald Trump's camp in the impeachment trial.
"This is a jump ball moment in American history," said Avlon. "Democrats have finished laying out all the evidence, and today the president's team will begin making its case. But there's a debate going on behind the scenes in the Senate that's just as important as what's in front of the camera. It's whether the Senate will agree that facts and evidence matter, or whether this will be the first Senate impeachment trial in history to never have witnesses. Now, the vast majority of Americans believe there should be witnesses, but this is a Senate that has a habit of putting party over country. Now, we're already hearing three arguments designed to convince Republican swing state senators to become supine."