On Monday’s edition of CNN’s “OutFront,” former Clinton White House adviser Keith Boykin and Mitch McConnell adviser Scott Jennings clashed over President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and its impact on violence and mass shootings.
“President Trump blames the Internet, video games, mental health laws and the media, but nothing about his rhetoric,” said host Erin Burnett to Boykin. “Your reaction?”
“He’s wrong. He’s inconsistent,” said Boykin. “When President Trump took office, he said that this American carnage stops right here and right now. Since that time we had Las Vegas, Gilroy, Mississippi, Parkland, Virginia Beach, Dayton, El Paso. This is out of control. Donald Trump is indirectly responsible for this. He’s inciting the rhetoric that’s encouraging this. Instead of doing something about guns, he’s blaming the wrong people and the wrong things. Every country has people with mental health issues. Every country has people who have access to social media and access to the Internet. Every country has access to video games. Not every country has access to guns the way they do in this country. And not every country has a racist president as we do.”
“What do you say about that? The president’s rhetoric matters,” said Burnett to Jennings, playing a clip of Trump describing an “invasion” of migrants. “It’s impossible to not hear that when you hear this person post the word invasion online, isn’t it?”
“I think that the first question you asked is does the president’s rhetoric matter? Of course, it does. All political rhetoric matters,” said Jennings, but he added, “I think today a lot of people have rushed to score political points and dunk on the president. I don’t hear a lot of people like Keith pointing out that the shooter in Ohio apparently was a leftist who commented online about all the left-wing Elizabeth Warren-type stuff. It wouldn’t be appropriate to do that, either. You can’t go around blaming every politician.”
“Just take responsibility for what your guys are doing, what you’re president is doing,” said Boykin. “He’s calling countries ‘sh*tholes.’ He’s telling people they’re invaders. He said people from Mexico are rapists and drug dealers and criminals. This guy is inciting rhetoric that’s encouraging people to engage in violent behavior. Just today, we saw Caesar Sayoc was sentenced to 20 years in prison, the guy who sent pipe bombs to CNN and other places, because of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Donald Trump’s rhetoric is responsible for encouraging and inciting violence. But unfortunately Republicans are complicit because the Democrats asked to pass a background check and Mitch McConnell refused to act.”
“What did you just say about Senator McConnell?” said Jennings.
“Mitch McConnell refused to act on the Democratic bill that was passed in February for background checks. And if that’s such an important issue, why won’t the Senate act on it?”
“I see you haven’t been following your news feed tonight,” said Jennings. “Senator McConnell has asked the committee chairs on the three relevant committees to come together on a bipartisan plan from the Senate that might include what has come over from the House for action when they come back in September.”
“That ‘might’ include after six months, that’s the best you can come up with?” said Boykin incredulously. “Come on. Six months later. You’re finally going to say you might include something that has to do with a red flag law. We have been talking about background checks for years, and the NRA has forced republicans not to address the issue, and now under pressure because there were two shootings in one weekend, you say they might do something, and I’m supposed to be happy about it? Twenty-one people were shot and killed, I’m supposed to be happy about the fact that Senator Mitch McConnell might do something? That’s not acceptable!”
Rick Santorum smacked down for claiming Sondland testimony helped Trump
On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) tried to argue that the testimony of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland actually helped President Donald Trump — and was promptly challenged.
"I think the Democrats had a good morning. I don't think they had a good afternoon," said Santorum. "I think what when the Republicans actually started questioning Sondland about the details, I think it fell apart a little bit."
"How so?" asked Chris Cuomo.
"He said the president never said any of these things to him," said Santorum. "In fact, what the president said, he quoted what the president said is, no, there's no quid pro quo. What he says is, well, I'm surmising, this is what I'm just sort of gathering. Did anything come from the president? No, it came from Rudy Giuliani."
Dem lawmaker demolishes GOP defense that Trump still did more for Ukraine than Obama
During the impeachment testimony of State Department officials Laura Cooper and David Hale, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) used his time to dismantle a growing defense of President Donald Trump's apparent use of Ukrainian foreign aid for an extortion scheme: that Obama didn't give Ukraine aid either, so Trump didn't even have to.
"Now as to the justification," said Swalwell. "The justification is that the Obama administration only provided blankets, so the Ukrainians should be grateful, even after being shaken down, that the Trump administration provided more, but the truth, Ms. Cooper, is that under the Obama administration and the European Reassurance Initiative, $175 million were provided from U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Ukrainians, is that right?"
Trumper Scott Jennings slams Devin Nunes for ‘being caught totally flat-footed’
It's clear the morning testimony didn't go as well as Republicans had wanted. The concern was evident on the face of House Minority Leader Devin Nunes (R-CA), who exchanged glances with the GOP counsel.
Republican Scott Jennings is quick to defend the White House and the GOP, but Wednesday even he was forced to concede his party wasn't prepared for what EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland testified.
CNN host John King noted that the Republican counsel brought up Rudy Giuliani and his business relationships in Ukraine, outside of his work for President Donald Trump.