After it was revealed Wednesday that an ISIS sympathizer who was fatally shot by a Boston police officer and FBI agent initially planned to behead Pamela Geller, CNN host Erin Burnett asked the conservative activist if she “relish[es]” being targeted for attack.
In an interview with Geller, Burnett pointed out that her organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, is listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-Muslim hate group.
“Nothing justifies a beheading or a beheading plot,” said Burnett, “but it’s important to note this. I mean, are you stoking the flames? Do you on some level relish being the target of these attacks?”
Geller did not respond kindly to the implication.
“Relish being the target?” Geller repeated incredulously. “Who self-promotes to get killed?”
Geller was the initial beheading target of 26-year-old Usaamah Rahim, a security guard who had been under FBI surveillance for two years.
He was fatally shot Tuesday morning while reportedly waving a military-style knife at local and federal authorities.
According to an affidavit filed in federal court on Wednesday, Rahim changed his mind early Tuesday morning and decided that instead of beheading Geller, he planned to behead a police officer. He reportedly told a friend, 25-year-old David Wright, that he planned to go after police because “it’s the easiest target.”
Wright was arraigned on charges of obstructing a federal investigation. He is accused of destroying evidence on Rahim’s phone, according to CNN.
During her combative interview with Burnett, Geller criticized the host for citing the Southern Poverty Law Center as an authoritative source on hate groups.
“Why do you use the Southern Poverty Law Center a notorious communist group to smear me?” Geller asked. “I’m the hunted one. I’m the hunted one. This is incredible to me.”
Burnett ended the segment, saying “as I said, I think nothing justifies a beheading, but I do think the question was a fair one.”
Geller fielded similar accusations that she invited attack after two ISIS sympathizers attempted to shoot up a “Draw the Prophet” event she organized in Garland, Tex. on May 3.
Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi opened fire outside of the event but were fatally shot by a police officer.