The anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and general intolerance espoused by those on the far-right and seemingly encouraged by President Donald Trump are not to blame for attacks like the mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques last week, according to conservative political commentator and GOP strategist Alice Stewart.
Rather, it is the Devil and those who pull the trigger who are to blame, she said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.
“I think it’s irresponsible,” RawStory quoted Stewart as saying. “There’s two people to blame for this tragedy in New Zealand: it is the gunman and the Devil. There’s no two ways about it.”
The Republican conceded that Americans “need to lower the tone and the rhetoric of the dialog that we have” but then qualified that statement saying “these types of incidents are the result or the fault of the person behind the gun.”
The rise of white nationalism coincides with “the rise in globalism,” Stewart also said.
“I think you can say as a person and as someone who supports my nation and this country, I can also be supportive of my nation but also want to protect my boundaries,” she explained. “I think that needs to be considered.”
In response to Stewart’s comments, former Democratic New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu said while she made “some excellent points,” he believes the president’s rhetoric is problematic.
“The president’s rhetoric when he first started this campaign and throughout his presidency, when he calls all Muslims terrorists, Mexicans rapists, African-Americans criminals, he begins to judge people — or anybody begins to judge people — based on race, creed, color, nation of origin, sexual orientation,” Landrieu said.
“It does create, in a moment in the country when there is a rise of white nationalism, kind of a patina that it’s okay to act that way.”
Landrieu noted that “we have a huge problem in this country that has been with us for some time,” and “at a minimum, the president and the speaker of the House and everybody else in this country has to call that out for what it is and speak to it.”