Marie Harf said Friday that President Donald Trump needed to be “more responsible” with his words after federal law enforcement agents foiled a plot to kidnap Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Harf addressed the issue during a panel discussion on “Outnumbered,” saying, “People who are supporters of his take his words and try to do violent things.”
Dagen McDowell began the segment by showing video from Whitmer’s Thursday press conference, during which the Michigan Governor had suggested that the president was responsible, at least in part, for the plot against her.
“When our leaders meet with, encourage, or fraternize with domestic terrorists, they legitimize their actions. And they are complicit. When they stoke and contribute to hate speech, they are complicit,” Whitmer said.
McDowell argued that Trump had repeatedly condemned such groups and organizations, accusing Whitmer of wielding the attack against her as a “political baton.” (RELATED: ‘I Do Not Tolerate ANY Extreme Violence’: Trump Lashes Out At Gretchen Whitmer After Foiled Kidnapping Plot)
Charles Hurt agreed, saying that it was insane to think that there were those who would “take a truly terrible thing like this plot that was foiled by the FBI, and they take something like this and they want to turn it into a weapon to beat up their political rivals.”
Harf seemed to align more with what Whitmer had said, arguing that the president had “riled” his supporters and should choose his words more carefully. (RELATED: ‘It’s A Yes Or No Question’: Harris Faulkner Challenges Marie Harf To Name One Republican-Led City Experiencing Violence Similar To Portland)
“The president also has really riled up his supporters about Michigan,” Harf explained. “He tweeted, ‘Liberate Michigan.’ He attacked to the Governor of Michigan personally over and over and over again, using the same language that these domestic terrorists then used with each other. So I think that we do need to talk about the fact that the president’s words are used by not just these people in Michigan, but we saw it with the pipe bomber before the midterms, we have seen over and over and over again. People who are supporters of his take his words and try to do violent things. The president should be more responsible with his words because of that.”
McDowell responded by bringing up the shooter who almost killed Republican Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise — a supporter of independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — making the point that violence was not one-party problem.