Mulvaney: Not Fair to Blame the President

Susan Jones | August 5, 2019 | 6:21am EDT
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Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

( - "I don't think it's fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president," White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told ABC's "This Week," after various media pundits and some Democrats did exactly that -- blamed the president's "white nationalism" and "racial rhetoric" for encouraging mass shootings.

There are people in this country this morning thinking that President Trump was happy by this," Mulvaney said. "That's a sad, sad state of this nation. He's angry. He's upset. He wants it to stop.

I don't think it's at all fair to sit here and say that he doesn't think that white nationalism is bad for the nation. These are sick people. You cannot be a white supremacist and be normal in the head. These are sick people. You know it, I know it, the president knows it. And this type of thing has to stop. And we have to figure out a way to fix the problem, not figure out a way to lay blame.

Host Jonathan Karl told Mulvaney that Democrat Beto O'Rourke blamed the president's "rhetoric" for fueling hatred in the country: "The president has used, as you well know, words like 'invasion' to talk about illegal immigrants. He...tweeted at the -- at those four progressive congresswomen, all -- all women of color, saying they should go back to their countries. Isn't this kind of rhetoric, and especially in light of what we've just seen, isn't it just dangerous?" Karl asked.

To which Mulvaney responded:

"Let's not lose sight of the fact that Beto O'Rourke, a former colleague of mine, who I hold in high regard, is running for president and the -- to the extent he can make this an issue, he's going to," Mulvaney replied.

"So here's the question you could ask Beto -- and I would if he were sitting here. It's a fair question, I think, to ask. Which is, look, did anyone blame Bernie Sanders for the congressional baseball game shooting? No, I don't think so.

"Did anyone blame Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the gentleman -- gentleman! -- for the crazy guy who tried to blow up the DHS office in Washington State, taking, I think, a homemade bomb and an AR-15 to shoot up what he called a concentration camp, the exact same rhetoric that AOC was using? Did anybody blame her?

"Look, there's -- there's no benefit here to trying to make this a political issue. This is a social issue and we need to address it as that," Mulvaney said.

Mulvaney also noted that mass shootings have been happening for many years, long before Trump even ran for office.

What can you do? You have to try and fix the society, right? You have to figure out why people now take it upon themselves to take guns into large groups of people. It's happened for -- for many decades now. We have to figure out a way to heal the nation. I've talked to several folks this morning about what they thought we should be focusing on this week in the White House and certainly we'll be talking to the FBI, certainly we'll be talking to the Department of Justice.

We also need to start talking about social media. In your -- in your introduction you mentioned that the -- the shooter had his manifesto on social media. We've given a wide audience to these people, we've made them celebrities, we've allowed them to spew their hate without any restrictions whatsoever.

Not saying we're going to regulate social media, I'm just saying we have to have a broad-based discussion about the causes here. Are we going to talk about the role of -- of guns? Certainly we are. But to think that -- that this is just a gun issue that many people make it out to be is -- is not right. We've had guns in this country for -- for hundreds of years.

We haven't had this until recently and we need to figure out why.


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