That didn’t take long.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Friday blamed rhetoric from President Trump and his supporters for the mass shooting in New Zealand that took the lives of 49 people.
“Words do have consequences, and we know that at the very pinnacle of power in our own country, people are talking about ‘good people on both sides,’” Blumenthal, D-Conn., said on CNN.
Blumenthal indicated he was talking about Trump’s comment after a violent rally in Virginia that included the white supremacist group Unite the Right, after which Trump said “both sides” shared the blame. But he also said he was talking about Trump’s supporters.
“I think it’s more than the president, it’s the people who enable him, and who fail to stand up to him and speak out,” he said. “I think that the public discourse from the president on down is a factor in some of these actions,” Blumenthal concluded.
Trump and Blumenthal are frequent sparring partners in the media. Blumenthal has been a constant critic of Trump’s, and Trump has responded by pointing out that Blumenthal lied for several years about having served in the Vietnam War.
Three men and one woman believed to be connected to the shooting in New Zealand have been arrested, and police continue to investigate the matter. One of the suspects is believed to have endorsed white nationalism. Forty-nine fatalities have been confirmed so, making it country’s worst mass shooting in its history.
Trump offered his condolences and said that the U.S. would support New Zealand as it recovers from the aftermath.