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CNN Panelist To Trump: You Have Radicalized More People Than ISIS

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The terrible tragedy a few days ago that resulted in several people dying in a synagogue in Pittsburgh has been covered extensively in the national news media. It was sadly just the latest incident in the spike in domestic terrorist attacks that we have seen in recent weeks and months, thanks in large part to the bitter polarization and vicious rhetoric that has befallen American politics as of late.

When it comes to the President, responsibility cannot be brushed away as easily as he might like. Donald Trump has publicly made countless outrageous and quite horrid statements regarding every socially marginalised group you can think of – Muslims, Jews, African-Americans and Mexicans, to name but a few.

As a result of that, inevitably, some blame has been assigned to him for the horrific tragedies that we have sadly seen recently. Many have alleged that his aggressive rhetoric is the root cause of the rise in violent sentiment that we have seen. He gets crowds of his supporters to shout “Lock her up!” repeatedly, and then Hillary Clinton gets a bomb in the mail. He constantly calls the liberal media, especially CNN, “fake news” and the “enemy of the people”, and then senior CNN execs find themselves on the receiving end of a similar attack. The correlation is clear – radicalization in that way is what happens if you continually whip up vast swathes of the population with such incendiary rhetoric.

This idea proved extremely controversial on a CNN programme recently. Panelist Julia Ioffe, who writes for The Atlantic and GQ Magazine, alleged – on live TV – that Trump “has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did”. Now, as you would probably expect, that comment provoked a very lively reaction from the Republicans on the panel, one of whom shot back by saying: “It’s unconscionable for you to say that.” That was David Urban, a political operative and commentator.

Ioffe went on to defend what she has said, alleging that Trump “winks and nods” to white nationalists and existing far-right terrorist organizations. Urban turned his attention to Jake Tapper, who was hosting the programme, criticizing him for not leaping to Trump’s defense. “For you not to push back on that,” he said, “for her to say the President of the United States has radicalized more people than ISIS is irresponsible.”

“I think the President has far more supporters who espouse an equally hateful ideology,” said Ioffe. It’s interesting how Urban chose not to actually defend the President’s conduct, or even to refute Ioffe’s statement, but merely to say that pointing it out was “irresponsible”.

Ioffe has since apologized for what she said, saying that she spoke “in the heat of the moment” and that she might have “exaggerated”.


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