Blumenthal says Trump’s rhetoric ‘a factor’ in New Zealand massacre

Richard Blumenthal

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that “the public discourse from the president on down is a factor in some of these actions,” after at least 49 people were killed and 48 were injured at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Friday tied President Donald Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric to a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques that left 49 dead.

“Words have consequences like saying we have an invasion on our border and talking about people as though they were different in some fatal way,” Blumenthal said during an interview on CNN.

Story Continued Below

“I think that the public discourse from the president on down is a factor in some of these actions.” he added.

At least 49 people were killed at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and another 48 reportedly injured. A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder, New Zealand police say, and two others have been arrested in connection to the attack. Authorities also defused explosive devices in a car.

Blumenthal has been a harsh critic on the president. Trump has also frequently criticized the Connecticut senator, often pointing to his comments about serving in the Vietnam War.

Blumenthal said Friday that words have “consequences,” pointing to comments Trump made about the 2017 Charlottesville rally that featured neo-Nazis and white nationalists, as well as counter-protesters.

“Words do have consequences, and we know that at the very pinnacle of power in our own country, people are talking about ‘good people on both sides,'” Blumenthal said, referencing Trump.

Trump was criticized for appearing to defend white-nationalists at the “Unite the Right” rally that sparked the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, where one person was killed. Trump said he condemned the neo-Nazis, but said not all were white nationalists or neo-Nazis and that “you also had some very fine people on both sides.”

Blumenthal added that he believes some are now standing up to speak out and denounce Trump’s actions, including his attempts to secure funding for his border wall despite oppostion from Congress.

“I think it’s more than the president, it’s the people who enable him, and who fail to stand up to him and speak out,” he said. “We’re seeing some glimmers of spine now, in the United States Congress, some of my colleagues in the last three votes standing up to him and saying no to his trampling on the Constitution.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/03/15/blumenthal-trump-new-zealand-massacre-1222892