On MSNBC, Eichenwald Accuses Republicans of Defending 'Right-Wing Terrorists'

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Appearing as a guest on Saturday's AM Joy, MSNBC contributor and Newsweek senior editor Kurt Eichenwald accused Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Republican members of Congress of defending "right-wing terrorists" during the Obama administration, as the liberal journalist tried to implicate mainstream conservatives in recent reports of hate crimes. 

Eichenwald: "In order to attack Obama. they said conservatives are right-wing terrorists. They told these right-wing extremists, 'You are one of us.' And it's not a surprise that the statistics show that when the Republicans control at least one house of Congress, this kind of violence goes up because it's not just Trump. Nobody is repudiating it."

Host Joy Reid read from an article by Slate's Jamelle Bouie in which the liberal journalist blamed President Donald Trump for inciting violence by whites against minorities. She then turned to Eichenwald, and, after recalling that a reader had tried to harm the Newsweek editor, then posed: "Is this something that, in your experience as a journalist, is increasing now? Or is it just something that you've experienced over the years that's just sort of part of the game?"

Eichenwald began: "Well, it's actually been increasing over time. It's escalated a lot now, I mean, I think that one of the things that's happened that has been very disturbing is, you know, Donald Trump is sort of the end of the line."

He then referred back to the Obama administration as he continued:

When you go back to 2010, when the Department of Homeland Security came out with a report talking about the threat of right-wing extremism. And it's a huge threat -- these are terrorists, these are violent people. You know, the Rush Limbaughs and members of Congress and Sean Hannitys all came running out saying, "They're saying conservatives are violent." Well, what just happened? In order to attack Obama. they said conservatives are right-wing terrorists.

Without citing any evidence, he then claimed that there is more violence from right-wing perpetrators when Republicans control Congress as he added:

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They told these right-wing extremists, "You are one of us." And it's not a surprise that the statistics show that when the Republicans control at least one house of Congress, this kind of violence goes up because it's not just Trump. Nobody is repudiating it. And when you finally have Trump in office, and Trump is, you know, both expressly and tacitly encouraging this kind of violent rhetoric. When you have a person running for Congress who body slams a reporter for asking a question, this country is over. 

Eichenwald further took aim at Republicans as he concluded:

We cannot operate like this. We cannot have our politicians telling those that we represent, "Violence is okay. If you criticize the right-wing terrorists that's bad. Racism is okay. Whatever you want to say is okay -- just don't be Islamic." That's kind of where we are now.

Below is a transcript of relevant portion of the Saturday, June 3, AM Joy on MSNBC:

JOY REID: Jamelle Bouie has a really excellent piece that came up on Thursday. He works for Slate. And this is what he wrote about the backdrop of Trump and what he has to do with all this. He said, "All of this," the violence, "takes place against a backdrop of political intolerance. Donald Trump ran for President on a platform of ethno-nationalism, offering interested white voters a chance to express and vote their resentments against Hispanic immigrants, Muslim Americans, and groups like Black Lives Matter."

He adds, "A recent working paper suggests that when people view Trump's popularity as going up, it "increases their willingness to publicly express xenophobic views."

"The election of Trump may have weakened norms against the expression of various bigotries, including racism." And, Kurt, you know, you, like Dean (Obeidallah) have been the target of some of these people who are angry at you for not supporting Donald Trump. And so you've seen it in your own life. I mean, somebody actually tried to harm you -- physically harm you -- cause you to be harmed because you do not support Donald Trump. Make of it what you will.

KURT EICHENWALD, NEWSWEEK: Because I write things they don't like.

REID: That he doesn't like. So, I mean, is this something that, in your experience as a journalist, is increasing now? Or is it just something that you've experienced over the years that's just sort of part of the game?

EICHENWALD: Well, it's actually been increasing over time. It's escalated a lot now, I mean, I think that one of the things that's happened that has been very disturbing is, you know, Donald Trump is sort of the end of the line. You know, when you go back to 2010, when the Department of Homeland Security came out with a report talking about the threat of right-wing extremism. And it's a huge threat -- these are terrorists, these are violent people. You know, the Rush Limbaughs and members of Congress and Sean Hannitys all came running out saying, "They're saying conservatives are violent." Well, what just happened? In order to attack Obama. they said conservatives are right-wing terrorists.

They told these right-wing extremists, "You are one of us." And it's not a surprise that the statistics show that when the Republicans control at least one house of Congress, this kind of violence goes up because it's not just Trump. Nobody is repudiating it. And when you finally have Trump in office, and Trump is, you know, both expressly and tacitly encouraging this kind of violent rhetoric. 

When you have a person running for Congress who body slams a reporter for asking a question, this country is over. We cannot operate like this. We cannot have our politicians telling those that we represent, "Violence is okay. If you criticize the right-wing terrorists that's bad. Racism is okay. Whatever you want to say is okay -- just don't be Islamic." That's kind of where we are now.

REID: Yeah.

EICHENWALD: And the threats and attacks on me, that just goes with the flow, I think.