In an appearance on MSNBC on Sunday, Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Birmingham) offered her thoughts on the spree of violent acts that have infiltrated American political discourse in recent days, including the bomb scare targeting several prominent Democratic Party politicians and their supporters, and the Saturday shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue that resulted in the killing of 11.
Sewell did not “directly” blame President Donald Trump for that violence, but criticized him for “dividing our country.”
“[I] do believe that the president, while he is not directly responsible for the violence, I think that because of the tone that he has set – not just as president, but as candidate – when he went down those escalators, since then he’s been about dividing our country, not about building bridges to try to heal our partisan divide.”
Sewell also said some of the blame should be put on “all of us,” referring to herself and other elected officials. Sewell lobbied that rhetoric should be dialed down, but pointed directly at Trump given he has the “biggest bully pulpit.”
“I think all of us share in that responsibility – all of the elected officials – we do traffic in rhetoric,” she added. “And I think we need to dial it down, all of us need to dial it down. People are listening. Our children are listening. And I think the president, just by saying kind words at the time of an incident trying to bring healing is not enough. It is about what he does day in and day out to actually fuel and inspire hatred in others. And I just think that it is really important that we all take some responsibility for this and dial down our rhetoric. But I think the ultimate person that has the biggest bully pulpit, if you will, is the president. And the president needs to be more presidential and less campaign oriented. He really needs to take some stock in how he presents to his own supporters.”
Later in the segment, Sewell vowed that she as a Democrat in a potential post-midterm election Democratic Party-led U.S. House of Representatives would prioritize “bread-and-butter issues” over efforts to impeach President Donald Trump and seeking Trump’s tax returns.