MSNBC anchorman Brian Williams set the table Wednesday night for Ohio Gov. John Kasich to blame President Trump for the pipe bombs that have been delivered to numerous high-profile Democrats this week.
“The tone of this country is something you have talked about often,” Williams said. “The obvious question is: Does the president bear some responsibility, obviously not for the bomb making or the recipients, but does he bear responsibility for the tone that allowed it?”
Kasich didn’t hesitate in his response.
“Sure. Sure he does,” he said. “It’s part of the reason why I never endorsed him. And I’ve never been personally critical of him but yeah he does bear responsibility for the divisions. He has the biggest megaphones.”
To be fair, the Ohio governor did try to spread the blame out beyond just President Trump.
“But I think, Brian, you and I have been observers in this business for a long time. And when we see Hillary Clinton say, ‘when they go low, we need to go low,’ or you see Eric Holder say that ‘when they go low we need to go low’ [misquote here as Holder actually said ‘When they go low, we kick them’], obviously everyone needs to knock it off,” Kasich said.
Watch the whole interview here:
Kasich then turned his attention back to Trump, saying the president bore the largest responsibility for the incivility that has gripped American politics.
“But obviously the guy with the biggest megaphone is the one that really needs to be careful,” Kasich said. “I’m told that in his rally tonight he offered some conciliatory words. I’m pleased to see that. I think it’s important. We don’t need to savage ourselves. We’re not in a zero-sum game where I win and you lose, and I have to devastate you because you’re my opponent, or call you a bad person. We can have a great, lively political discussion, political debate, and we don’t have to separate and polarize and anger.”
Kasich said this leads to “crazy things.”
“When you get this frenzy going, back when you were in high school or in college, and you go to those pep rallies and everybody gets all riled up and gets so angry, and then someone who kinda lives on the edge does something stupid. …in an environment when you have all this name calling, ‘this person is bad’ and everything is so critical, what happens is someone who might not be real balanced might do something crazy and I think we’ve seen some of that in the last two days.”
So far, little to no information is known about the origin of the packages sent to the Clintons, Holder, George Soros, Maxine Waters and several other Democrats.
“We’ve seen calls for incivility from both sides of the political spectrum,” former FBI and CIA official Jeff Beatty said on CNN. “If people are keeping score at home, so far the only people who have had blood spilled are the Republicans” – a reference to members of the House Republicans’ baseball team, including Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who was shot during practice in June 2017.
Williams continued his interview with Kasich by asking another loaded and leading question.
“Let me ask you a question, history buff to history buff. Nationalism. What does that word mean to you?”
This question was referring to Trump’s recent declaration that he is a nationalist who puts “America first” in all his negotiations and dealings with world leaders.
“It means looking inward to me,” Kasich responded. “Revving up your own folks. I think our leaders in our country, forever, particularly since, even starting, well, very, very early on, we saw our leaders saying we had a global responsibility. We think about World War II and President Franklin Roosevelt saying we needed to be involved… We fought them with everything we had, but when that war ended …we helped rebuild them, why because we recognized we all lived on the same planet. It was about rebuilding, creating relationships, and I think it served us well in keeping the peace.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.