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.