Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida told an African-American congregation on Sunday that the U.S. is heading toward a situation like the Rwandan genocide because of “tribal” divisions.
Nelson, an incumbent running for a fourth term in office, faces a strong challenge from Republican Governor Rick Scott in the midterm elections.
He spoke Sunday at Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Florida City, Florida, the day after 11 Jews were killed by an antisemitic gunman at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Nelson invited congregants to draw parallels between the U.S. today and Rwanda.
Nelson’s remarks were captured on a Facebook live video. “Look at what’s happening in America. You see that division. You don’t see that unity,” he remarked, before continuing (0:29 to 1:23):
My wife is a personal friend of Jeannette Kagame, the First Lady of Rwanda. And that story of Rwanda is very instructive to us. Because when a place gets so tribal that the two tribes won’t have anything to do with each other, and that jealousy turns into hate — and we saw what happened to the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda. It turned into a genocide, a million people hacked to death within a few months. And we have got to watch what is happening here in America.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) also spoke to the congregation. She told congregants: “We can honor the ancestors by voting right.”
CNN notes: “The Rwandan genocide is considered one of the worst mass slaughters in human history,” adding that “[h]istorians have tracked the seeds of the tribal violence in Rwanda to generations of antipathy,” not to a temporary political dispute.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.