Following a night of violent protests in Portland that left someone dead, CNN State of the Union host Dana Celebration consistently faced Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) on whether President Donald Trump’s increasingly dissentious rhetoric was “inflaming” and “agitating” tensions in the nation.
Highlighting the violence in Portland and the current vigilante shootings in Kenosha, Celebration started her interview by summarizing the president’s remarks and tweets in which he contacted the Portland mayor to resign, identified protesters as punks, and claimed American cities remain in turmoil.
” You are the chairman, as I mentioned, of the Senate Homeland Security Committee,” Bash informed Johnson. “Are you comfortable with the president appearing to irritate tensions rather of what we typically see from presidents, which is attempting to calm them down?”
Johnson deflected, saying that he is personally “prompting calm throughout the board” prior to adding that “we require to get control of the situation,” prompting Celebration to press back.
” You say everyone must be calm, which sounds rational,” she stated. “Look at what we’re seeing one thing on the president’s Twitter feed today, he seems to be encouraging his supporters to go into Portland which is resulting in a few of this violence. Is that what you wish to be seeing from the president, sir?”
Johnson, meanwhile, asserted that “there are people upseting all over the location,” triggering Bash to remind the pro-Trump lawmaker that Trump is the president of the United States. The Wisconsin senator went on to insist that the president “reacted right away” amid the violent protests and shootings in Kenosha.
The two then engaged in a heated back-and-forth that culminated in Celebration when again pressing Johnson on the president’s inflammatory rhetoric.
Would you prefer the president not tweet agitating remarks and agitating ideas on his Twitter feed?
” Given what you’re stating, would you prefer the president not tweet agitating remarks and agitating ideas on his Twitter feed?” Bash asked over a screaming Johnson.
” That’s how you represent it,” he fired back.
” There is no other way to see it,” Celebration answered back. “It is really various from what you stated.”
Minutes later on, the pair had another contentious exchange when the CNN host conjured up the vigilante-style killings in Kenosha, mentioning that the deaths appear to be the result of clashes between the left and right, while questioning aloud whether the president has a responsibility to call out violence despite who’s committing it.
After Johnson stated it was needed to take a look at the “whole situation,” that included the protests over the authorities shooting of Jacob Blake, Bash directly faced the legislator on whether or not he condemned the alleged murders by 17- year-old Trump advocate Kyle Rittenhouse.
” It is a tragedy,” Johnson addressed.
He would continue to just call it a “catastrophe” as Celebration repeatedly pressed the matter, prompting the CNN host to ultimately keep in mind that “a disaster might be a vehicle accident” while again asking if he ‘d condemn the suspected shooter’s actions.
” You enable peaceful protesters, but you do not enable– you don’t allow tranquil protests to turn siege into siege,” Johnson responded. “Listen, I do not want to see any person lose their life. I do not want to see the violence continue. I do not want to see companies burn down. I don’t wish to see financial destruction. I condemn it all.”
In a followup State of the Union interview, Home Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) took Johnson to task for his inability to roundly condemn the Kenosha shootings, saying that he discovered it “impressive” that his colleague couldn’t merely condemn it.
Schiff likewise said that the president was “willfully fanning the flames” of violence in an effort to help his project.