Pence denies tie between Trump rhetoric and violence

Greg Nash

Vice President Pence on Saturday rejected the idea that there is a causal link between President Trump’s rhetoric and violence like Saturday’s shooting or last week’s attempted bombings.

“Everyone has their own style, and frankly, people on both sides of the aisle use strong language about our political differences,” Pence told NBC News Saturday. “But I just don’t think you can connect it to acts or threats of violence.”

“I think we need to be very careful in any way to connect the kind of violent behavior we witnessed in Pittsburgh today, the threats of violence against prominent Americans that we witnessed in the pipe bombs, what happened in Sutherland Springs, Texas, or what happened here in Las Vegas, to the political debate,” he continued.{mosads}

“We want a free and open political debate in America where everyone expresses themselves passionately and openly,” he said.

“The American people believe in the freedom of speech,” Pence said. “And throughout the history of this country we’ve always had vigorous debates and then we settle those debates in the ballot box. We don’t settle them through acts or threats of violence like the pipe bombs we saw sent to the Obamas, the Clintons, to CNN and others.”

Pence condemned the shooting Saturday which claimed 11 lives in what the Anti-Defamation League has called likely the worst act of anti-Semitic violence in U.S. history.

“What happened this morning in Pittsburgh was not just a criminal act, it was evil and there is no tolerance in the country for violence against innocent Americans or attacks on places of worship,” Pence said.

“And the president and I are absolutely determined to do everything in our power to prevent these type of attacks from happening in the future.”

“We’re going to take steps to hold to account this individual and send a message across America that there will be no tolerance for any threats or acts of violence against innocent Americans or places of worship.”

Trump has condemned Saturday’s shooting and last week’s attempted bombings, calling for unity and more civil discourse.

Trump called Saturday’s shooting an “assault on humanity” and suggested that the perpetrator should “pay the highest price.”

“This was an anti-Semitic attack at its worst,” Trump said. 

“The scourge of anti-Semitism cannot be ignored, cannot be tolerated, and cannot be allowed to continue … It must be confronted and condemned everywhere it rears its very ugly head.”

Tags anti-semitism civil discourse Donald Trump Pittsburgh synagogue shooting political polarization President Trump Vice President Pence
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