Sen. Jeff Merkley: Trump 'bears responsibility' for wave of violence that includes Portland murders

Sen. Jeff Merkley: Trump 'bears responsibility' for wave of violence that includes Portland murders

Senator Jeff Merkley knows who is ultimately responsible for the Portland stabbing attack that left two men dead and another injured last week. Through the always-convenient climate of hate argument, Merkley says President Trump is responsible for a wave of violence which includes the Portland attack. Merkley spoke to CNN Tuesday after a town hall:

Asked if Merkley was saying Trump should bear any responsibility for incidents like the stabbing, the senator argued that Trump bears responsibility for a larger “wave of violence.”

“You probably can’t tie him directly to one particular act of violence. But to the wave of violence, yes, he bears responsibility,” he said…

As he has argued before, Merkley said Trump’s presidential campaign last year “encouraged hate speech” and “divisions.”

“I feel like much of what has happened with these hate crimes falls directly from who he is,” Merkley said.

A U.S. Senator is blaming the President for every hate crime that has happened in the U.S. claiming they are the result of something candidate Trump said more than six months ago. Merkley can’t even be bothered to point out a specific statement he thinks is responsible. It’s all very vague but that’s all that is required to make this ‘climate of hate’ argument.

The beauty of the climate of hate argument is that it avoids all of the messy specifics which might get in the way of casting the blame on someone. So, for instance, it didn’t matter that Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner was not a fan of Sarah Palin, or that he’d never seen her political targeting map, or that he was on the fringe left. What mattered was that Palin could be blamed for coarsening the political discourse after several people were killed. Progressives wanted it to be true and that was good enough for the media to run with the need for a national discussion about our discourse.

Last week a deranged white supremacist named Jeremy Christian verbally harassed some teenagers, one of whom was wearing a hijab, on a public train in Portland. Three brave men from different walks of life stood up to him and all three were violently attacked and slashed with a knife. Two of the men died (as heroes in my opinion).

Since then we’ve had many stories about the Islamophobic element of the incident, but it has gone almost unremarked by the media that the killer wasn’t just Islamophobic, he hated all religions. In fact, the night before the attack he was filmed ranting about Christians and Jews and talking about his “pagan ancestors” on another train. His social media accounts confirm he was a racist and a nut, but his politics were less clear cut. In December he wrote, “Bernie Sanders was the President I wanted. He voiced my heart and mind.” He went on to say that having lost the primary he felt Trump was a better pick than Hillary, but later wrote that he couldn’t bring himself to vote for Trump.

To the degree that he is mentally competent, Jeremey Christian is responsible for his own vile actions. As for President Trump, he has condemned the attack just as he condemned the anti-Semitic attacks on Jewish Community Centers a few months ago. As it turned out, those incidents of ‘telephone terrorism’ were the result of two different people with different motives, neither of whom was a Trump supporter. Sen. Merkley should be ashamed for trying to blame this on President Trump. He should be asked to defend or recant his statements and so should other Democrats, but don’t hold your breath waiting for the media to call Merkley or anyone else on this. The climate of hate argument has always been a free pass for the left to attack the right without the need for facts or specifics.

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