President Donald Trump on Friday called a Maryland man’s foiled plot to harm Democratic politicians and journalists “a very sad thing,” but made it clear that he doesn’t believe his own rhetoric was to blame.
“I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a very sad thing when a thing like that happens and I’ve expressed that, but I’m actually getting a very complete briefing in about two hours,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
Asked if he feels like he bears any responsibility because of his language, Trump said, “No I don’t. I think my language is very nice.”
Earlier Friday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also suggested that there weren’t any plans for Trump to tone down his rhetoric against his opponents and the media, despite the recent news of the arrest of Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson, who is alleged to be a white supremacist with a hit list that included prominent Democratic politicians and several journalists from CNN and MSNBC.
“Certainly (I) don’t think that the President at any point has done anything but condemn violence against journalists or anyone else. In fact, every single time something like this happens, the President is typically one of the first people to condemn the violence and the media is the first people to blame the President,” Sanders told reporters Friday morning when asked whether Hasson’s arrest would trigger the White House to tamp down Trump’s tone.
This isn’t the first time individuals have aimed to physically harm those associated with organizations and political parties Trump has said he dislikes.
Last fall, a serial mail bomber targeted American politicians and former intelligence officials who had been critical of Trump – including two former Democratic presidents, a former Democratic presidential nominee, a former vice president, two wealthy liberal campaign donors, two former top intelligence officials, a former attorney general, two senators, two congresswomen, an activist actor and CNN.
And just this month, a BBC cameraman was physically attacked by a Trump supporter during a rally in Texas.
In both cases, the President and his administration condemned the attacks.
CNN’s Allie Malloy and Zachary B. Wolf contributed to this report.