"Healer in chief": Kellyanne Conway hails Trump while telling Democrats to turn down rhetoric

Presidential adviser blames Democrats' "resistance" to Trump for Alexandria shooting

Published June 16, 2017 5:29PM (EDT)

Kellyanne Conway   (CNN)
Kellyanne Conway (CNN)

In a Friday appearance on "Fox and Friends," White House adviser Kellyanne Conway had some advice to Democrats: Be nicer to America's "healer in  chief." Conway directed her comments at congressional Democrats who she said have not done enough to police their own side in light of the recent shooting of Republican Rep. Steve Scalise by a deranged Trump-hater named James Hodgkinson.

The Republican pollster and talking head appeared on the Fox News morning program to chat about her reaction to the congressional baseball game for which Scalise had been practicing when he was targeted.

"I was there at the game last night at the beginning and there was a feeling of unity and healing," Conway said. "I think that was brought about by our leader, President Donald Trump. He's being a healer in chief he's been just remarkably wonderful to the entire country calling for unity praying for those who have been injured for their full recovery."

She continued: "I think the unity lasted a hot minute for some leaders."

Conway argued that "You can oppose policies but it's done with such hateful, charged rhetoric that active resistance becomes armed resistance in the case of this lone gunman."

The program's hosts then asked her about congressional Democrats whom she accused of inciting Hodgkinson. Conway pointed to Twitter to claim that "if I were shot and killed tomorrow, half of Twitter would explode in applause and excitement."

At no point in the interview did Conway or her hosts discuss violent rhetoric on the part of the president or his supporters, such as a July 2016 comment from Al Baldasaro, the former co-chair of Trump's veterans campaign group that then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton should be “put in the firing line and shot for treason" for her alleged misconduct during a 2012 attack on an American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Baldasaro never apologized for his comments and he was not dismissed from his spot by the Trump campaign.

During his campaign rallies, Trump himself advocated for violence against demonstrators who tried to disrupt his events.

"You know, part of the problem and part of the reason it takes so long is nobody wants to hurt each other anymore, right?" the future president said at a March 2016 speech. He made several similar remarks, implying that he would be willing to attack disruptors.

Trump even claimed during one rally that he would be willing to pay the legal bills of anyone who assaulted them -- a remark that actually landed the president in a court case as a defendant last April. A white nationalist activist launched the suit against Trump for refusing to follow through on his promise.

There's no question that both parties have tried to hype up American citizens against each other to distract from their own failures and lack of compassion. That process began on the political right and is more pervasive there. While some congressional Republicans have admitted that Trump has played a large role in radicalizing political rhetoric, no one anywhere close to the president has ever done so.

By Matthew Sheffield

Matthew Sheffield is a national correspondent for The Young Turks. He is also the host of the podcast "Theory of Change." You can follow him on Twitter.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Donald Trump Kellyanne Conway Political Violence Steve Scalise Violence Violent Rhetoric