Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said Sunday the rise of incendiary political rhetoric in recent years threatens public safety.

“No one can say that any particular comment leads a madman to decide to do this but I do believe that the general coarsening and aggravation of the dialogue, the fact that disagreement is often characterized as a matter of people having enemies or wanting to commit acts of violence does affect some minority of individuals and that raises the danger to everybody,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

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Chertoff made his comment in response to a 1995 quote from former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonBill Clinton shares video update after release from hospital Biden, Democrats risk everything unless they follow the Clinton pivot (they won't) Giuliani picks Abe Lincoln filter for attack against McAuliffe MORE after the Oklahoma City bombing: “We hear so many loud and angry voices in America today whose sole goal seems to be to try to keep some people as paranoid as possible and the rest of us all torn up and upset with each other. They spread hate, they leave the impression that, by their very words, that violence is acceptable.”

Rep. Carolyn McCarthyCarolyn McCarthyWhy Congress needs an openly atheist member, now Lobbying World Lobbying world MORE (D-N.Y.), a leading gun control advocate whose husband was killed in the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting, endorsed Chertoff’s comments and admonished some of her colleagues.

“Since I’ve been in Congress I’ve seen over the last several years the deterioration of working with each other,” McCarthy said. “When you listen to the words of some of my colleagues, are inflammatory …. Just in the last past week a few of my colleagues came out with statements on other people, which are absolutely not true.”

Tea Party-favorite Rep. Michele BachmannMichele Marie BachmannBoehner says he voted for Trump, didn't push back on election claims because he's retired Boehner: Trump 'stepped all over their loyalty' by lying to followers Boehner finally calls it as he sees it MORE (R-Minn.) drew criticism from Republican colleagues last week for accusing Huma Abedin, a senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonI voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary Meghan McCain: 'SNL' parodies made me feel like 'laughing stock of the country' MORE, of having family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump attacks Meghan McCain and her family In Montana, a knock-down redistricting fight over a single line McCain: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner had 'no goddamn business' attending father's funeral MORE (R-Ariz.) criticized Bachmann’s claim on the Senate floor.

“When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation and we all grow poorer because of it,” he said.