In comments Thursday morning to reporters, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responded to critics who have attempted to tie President Donald Trump’s rhetoric to the string of attempted bomb attacks that targeted prominent Democrats.
She said there is a “big difference between comments made and actions taken,” drawing a link between this week’s bomb scares and a shooting that targeted Republican lawmakers.
“The president is certainly not responsible for sending suspicious packages to someone, no more than Bernie Sanders was responsible for a supporter of his shooting up a Republican baseball field practice last year,” Sanders said.
James Hodgkinson, the shooter who nearly killed Rep. Steve Scalise and wounded four others at the Republican congressional baseball practice last year, was a volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential campaign. He also frequently excoriated Republicans as “racist and sexist” and called Trump a “traitor.”
The following morning, Sanders appeared on the Fox News Channel to reiterate her point.
“Look, the president, I think, could not have been more presidential yesterday when he spoke directly to the American people,” she said. “He condemned this violence.”
She went on to further distance Trump from the actions of a suspect who apparently targeted critics of the administration.
“Let’s not get lost in who is responsible for the heinous act,” Sanders said. “It is the person who made and sent these suspicious packages. Let’s not forget that that is ultimately the person that is responsible and will be held responsible by this administration.”
Former CIA Director John Brennan, a harsh critic of the president and one of the intended recipient of one suspicious package, was one who pointed to the president’s “inflammatory rhetoric” as to blame for the tense political climate.
Stop blaming others. Look in the mirror. Your inflammatory rhetoric, insults, lies, & encouragement of physical violence are disgraceful. Clean up your act….try to act Presidential. The American people deserve much better. BTW, your critics will not be intimidated into silence. https://t.co/cS5qNiuU7o
— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) October 25, 2018
U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was among those who echoed Sanders’ take.
“I didn’t blame Bernie Sanders when a Bernie supporter shot Congressman Steve Scalise,” he tweeted. “And I’m not going to blame President @realDonaldTrump for this nut job. I blame the individual(s) responsible –- not someone else.”
I didn’t blame Bernie Sanders when a Bernie supporter shot Congressman Steve Scalise. And I’m not going to blame President @realDonaldTrump for this nut job.
I blame the individual(s) responsible –- not someone else.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 25, 2018
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