Chuck Todd and Mick Mulvaney

Chuck Todd interviews WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Meet the Press – 8/4/19. Screen grab via NBC News.

 

While most Congressional Republicans wisely stayed away from national media interviews on Sunday in the aftermath of the horrific mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH, White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney made an appearance on NBC News‘s Meet the Press for an interview with Chuck Todd.

Todd – fresh off of an interview with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker (NJ) – began by asking Mulvaney if President Trump believed we had a white nationalism problem in America. Before Mulvaney answered the question, he condemned what he’d heard in the previous segments when Booker and the NBC News panel guests blamed Trump’s rhetoric for the shooting massacre in El Paso.

From the transcript:

Mulvaney: Chuck before I answer that, let me say this because I’ve been sitting here listening to this show. I heard the tail end of Booker’s thing, I heard most of the panel and I, I know this is a political show, but the level of rhetoric in the last twenty minutes, I hope someone else is bothered by it other than me. I mean, we’ve moved straight past any sympathy at all for the victims, straight past going into what caused this and trying to figure out who’s to blame.

So I’ll ask this question. Was Bernie Sanders responsible for, for when my friends got shot playing baseball? I don’t think that he was. Was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responsible when someone drove up to a DHS facility with a homemade bomb and an AR15 and tried to blow the place up calling it a concentration camp, the same rhetoric that she used, was she responsible? I don’t think that she was. If a person, if a member of this administration who someone on your panel, I couldn’t see their faces, called out today as a white national — if that person gets injured today, is the person on your panel responsible?

I am really really disappointed at the level of rhetoric. Do we have problems in this nation? Absolutely we do. Do we have white supremacists who are crazy and nuts and dangerous? Yes we do. By my goodness, gracious —

Not happy that Mulvaney had turned the left’s “incitement” tactics back around on them, Todd interrupted him and asked if he believed Trump’s rhetoric was a factor in the El Paso shootings:

TODD: So you don’t accept the fact the President’s rhetoric has been a contributing factor at all?

MULVANEY: I blame the people who pulled the trigger Chuck. Goodness gracious, is someone really blaming the President? These people are sick and until we address why people think this way, this young man and by the way, let’s say this, to be clear, we know nothing about the shooter in Dayton, so we’re talking about the shooter in El Paso.

[…]

This was a sick person. You can go and read the things that the person wrote, by the way now available to the world on social media, making the person famous. By the way if you do read that, what you said, hes felt this way for a long time from — even before President bush — excuse me President Trump got elected. So — but again, why aren’t we trying to figure out a way to bring the nation together this morning as opposed to saying, you know what, it’s the president’s fault —

Todd then regurgitated Democratic talking points about the President “stoking racial resentment” with his criticisms of The Squad and parts of Rep. Elijah Cumming’s Congressional district in Baltimore. Mulvaney wasn’t having it:

TODD: Well that’s my question for you, what is the President doing — but in fairness, Mr. Mulvaney, the President has spent the last month on Twitter stocking racial resentment in different ways and you can, you can try to rationalize that he was speaking about specific incidents but taking together these sick people as you’re describing, they hear what they want to hear. Does the president not have a responsibility to speak with a higher moral clarity when it comes to violence. A higher moral clarity when it comes to refugees.

MULVANEY: Right, Chuck , let me put it to you this way. Even if he did speak the way that you want him to speak, and I get the fact that some people don’t approve of the verbiage the president uses, I get that, alright, but even if they did, your point that you just made is absolutely right. People are going to hear what they want to hear. My guess is this guy is in that parking lot in El Paso, Texas in that Walmart doing this even if Hillary Clinton is president. In fact, he probably go out and blame Hillary Clinton for doing it. These are crazy people, sick people, and until we figure out why we are creating this many people like this in this culture, why we are giving them such wide sort of audiences on social media, why we are making weapons available to them when they probably shouldn’t get them. Let’s talk about background checks, something we have worked on in this administration. Those are the conversations to have. Not giving Cory Booker a chance to run for president this morning by blaming Donald Trump. That is really disappointing.

Todd then asked Mulvaney again if Trump accepted that white nationalism was a problem in America, and during Mulvaney’s answer he noted the political motivations behind Cory Booker’s attacks on Trump, which Todd didn’t like:

MULVANEY: So, yes he feels the same way that you do, he feels the same way that everybody watching the show, apparently with the exception of Cory Booker and some people on your panel, which is saddened and angry. And that’s where we are this morning as a country and that’s what we should be talking about. Not whether or not it gives one party or another a leg up in the next election.

TODD: It’s not about whether there’s a leg up in the next election, I think there’s a concern —

MULVANEY: No Chuck, that’s what the entire Cory Booker interview was about. He’s looking —

But even though Todd spent the entire interview questioning the motivations behind Trump’s attacks on The Squad and Rep. Cummings, he was not interested in talking about Sen. Booker’s (political) motivations in blaming Trump for El Paso. Shocker!

TODD: Look, I don’t want to get into his motivation, I’m just — there is other concerns here beyond politics and that is that this seems to — the president uses dehumanizing rhetoric and this person used invasion — you sort of put it on, saying some people don’t like his rhetoric.

Watch the full interview below:

It couldn’t have been easy for any Republican to go into the lion’s den when liberals were loaded for bear and ready to accuse them of “having blood on their hands”, but Mulvaney held his own and was not buying what Todd was selling and refused to take the bait. Good for him.

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— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –