White House press secretary Sarah Sanders blasted mainstream media members on Friday for reliably being “the first people to blame” President Donald Trump whenever a disturbed individual threatens or plans violence against prominent Democrats or media members.
Authorities arrested 49-year-old Christopher Paul Hasson, a U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant, last week on drug and gun charges.
Hasson (pictured above right) apparently kept a hit list filled with prominent Democratic politicians and mainstream media members, according to prosecutors.
Hasson is a white supremacist and has held extremist views for years, the prosecutors said.
They called him “a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct,” in court papers filed on Tuesday.
Prosecutors revealed Hasson created what appears to be a hit list including the names of prominent media members from CNN and MSNBC and key Democratic politicians. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) were among those on the list.
CNN’s Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo and Van Jones — as well as MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, Chris Hayes and Ari Melber — also were listed.
It didn’t take long for some media members and liberals to try to tie Trump to Hasson’s actions — the president has criticized many of the hit-list targets.
Sanders spoke to reporters at the White House on Friday. One asked her about the president’s criticisms of the people on Hasson’s hit list.
“The president has tweeted that the journalists, the media are ‘the enemy of the people.’ Is there any plan from the president to maybe tone down his rhetoric?” the reporter asked. “And do you think this contributes to these sorts of extremists getting these ideas?”
Sanders fired back, “I certainly don’t think that the president at any point has done anything but condemn violence against journalists or anyone else.”
“In fact, every single time something like this happens, the president is typically one of the first people to condemn the violence, and the media is the first people to blame the president,” Sanders added.
All Americans “should all join together and start condemning the violence” — whether it’s against “members of the media, whether it’s against Democrats, Republicans, any person in this country,” Sanders emphasized.
“And that’s why every time it comes up we have been consistent and repeatedly said that we condemn violence in all forms,” Sanders added.
But many mainstream media figures and Democrats rushed to blame the president partially for Hasson’s actions and intentions.
Scarborough, for example, tied Hasson’s domestic terrorism plot to Trump’s “enemy of the people” rhetoric.
“We’ve all known that Donald Trump and his words and his attacks about ‘enemies of the people’ would lead to this type of behavior,” Scarborough said Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“This is now the second time that we know about, from the pipe bombs to yesterday, but yesterday was obviously far more specific, far more dangerous. And know that is exactly what Donald Trump is encouraging.”
The media personality was referring to the actions of Cesar Sayoc, 56, whom authorities arrested in October for sending a string of suspicious packages to prominent Democrats and CNN’s New York bureau.
Sayoc attended Trump rallies and backed the president.
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