I’m not sure if having a quarter of the public blame the president for an attempted domestic terror attack is a “good” result. But since the media seems nearly unanimous in its belief that he does, if only as an (im)moral inspiration, this is worth noting.
The topline numbers: 24 percent say he bears a “lot” of blame, 15 percent say he bears “some,” 10 percent say he bears a “little,” and a full 50 say he bears zippo. All told, then, it’s 49/50. Say, I wonder if those divides fall along partisan lines.
What do you know.
I want to meet the 16 percent of Democrats who say that Trump bears zero responsibility for the bombings. They can’t all be pro-Trump Dems; he only won eight percent of Democratic voters in 2016 and is likely below that mark in approval polling now. Who are these very off-message lefties who normally aren’t inclined to defend Trump but will do so on this?
What’s interesting about the “blame” question is that HuffPost also asked people whether they believe Trump encourages or discourages his fans to behave violently. The result this time: 37/23. Republicans are a bit more lukewarm in defending Trump on this one.
Independents are more lukewarm too. It may be that indies are more willing than Democrats or the media to draw distinctions on the subject of incitement. Is Trump guilty of encouraging violence? Sure, they might say. Remember that time he half-joked he’d pay the legal fees of anyone who beat up a protester at his rallies? Is he guilty of encouraging people to make bombs, though? That’s a reach. The “enemy of the people” demagoguery is ugly but not so ugly that independents and even a sizable minority of Democrats are willing to lay a mail-bomb campaign off on him.
Here’s Joe Biden, who had not one but two bombs aimed at him, calling for a change in “tone” in the wake of the violence. He’s careful to demand it of both parties but it’s clear from this comment and others made this morning whom he mostly blames. I was surprised to see even some moderate righties respond to this by bringing up Biden’s infamous 2012 remark on the trail about Mitt Romney wanting to “put y’all back in chains” financially. (“Y’all” was his way of addressing a mostly black audience.) Does Biden regret that in hindsight? I bet he’d say yes, to claim the moral ground now, but in reality he doesn’t. Why would he? He and Obama won. The ends justified the means then and it will again in 2020.