Sanders: Trump doesn't 'want to see somebody get shot' but 'creates the climate for it'

Sanders: Trump doesn't 'want to see somebody get shot' but 'creates the climate for it'
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWomen's March endorses Nina Turner in first-ever electoral endorsement GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 White House candidate, said Sunday that he believes President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE “creates the climate” for events like last weekend’s mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, but that he does not believe Trump wants “to see somebody get shot.”

“I think that what [Trump] has created in this country with his incredible rhetoric, his racist rhetoric where he calls Mexicans rapists and criminals, where he almost condones in a rally when someone was attacking somebody … he creates a climate where we are seeing a significant increase in hate crimes in this country,” Sanders said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday.

“He is creating the kind of divisiveness in this nation that is the last thing that we should be doing,” Sanders added. “He creates the climate, but do I think that he wants to see somebody get shot? Absolutely not.”

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The suspect in the El Paso shooting, in which at least 22 people were killed, has been tied to a  manifesto railing against a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” Several presidential candidates, including Sanders, have paralleled the language in the document to Trump’s frequent use of similar rhetoric. Trump condemned white supremacy in the wake of  shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio and last week accused his critics of making false charges of racism.

CBS’s Margaret Brennan on Sunday also questioned Sanders on the 2017 shooting of her previous guest, House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance What you need to know about the new COVID-19 surge Fauci 'heartened' to see top Republicans encouraging vaccinations MORE (R-La.), who mentioned that the gunman had been a volunteer for Sanders’s 2016 campaign. Sanders noted that he had condemned the shooting on the Senate floor that morning.