CNN panel goes off the rails after frantic Santorum claims Trump can't be held responsible for encouraging violence
Rick Santorum, Jake Tapper -- screenshots

A CNN "State of the Union" panel grew more heated than usual on Sunday morning as regular contributor Rick Santorum attempted to put some distance between Donald Trump's violent rhetoric and two mass shootings that occurred within 13 hours of each other.


Fellow conservative Amanda Carpenter  kicked it off  by blistering Donald Trump and Republicans for not directly calling out white supremacist terrorists.

"I've been watching carefully what Republicans have been saying and I come down here right now," she began. "If the only thing can you muster to offer are your thoughts and prayers, then those thoughts should be very clear and unequivocal about condemning white terrorism. If the words radical Islamic terrorist can roll off your tongue, it should equally roll off your tongue when it happens in another case."

Jumping into the fray, the former GOP Pennsylvania senator stated for the record, "Clearly, the person in El Paso is a white supremacist. Look, I don't know of any Republican who wouldn't say that what we saw in El Paso, given the manifesto and given this legitimacy and everything, that works out is clearly act of white supremacism and should be called that. It's terrorism in its worse form."

"You see it already," Carpenter shot back. "The president won't call it what it is."

"He did issue a tweet condemning it," Santorum parried, before meekly adding, "He didn't call it white nationalism."

During an exchange with host Jake Tapper, Santorum grew frantic when stating that Trump can't be held accountable for inciting violence -- only to have the CNN host point out that Trump has let violent rhetoric be expressed at his hate-filled rallies.

"Tone matters or it doesn't," Tapper explained.

"Tone matters but the president has been very clear, violence is unacceptable in any form," Santorum attempted.

"I don't know if we had the clip ready, but three months ago the president was panhandle of Florida, talking about the threat of migrants coming over the border and someone yelled ''kill them.' and the president chuckled and the audience chuckled and the president said only in the panhandle can you get away with that. The idea that he has consistently done so is not true," Tapper lectured.

"He should have condemned that," Santorum tried again. "Look, the idea that the president is somehow or another responsible or promoting violence is over the top."

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