A professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas suggested Thursday that President Trump deserves the blame for the Las Vegas shooting because the president has “encouraged violence.”
“Right when he got elected, I told my classes, three semesters ago, that some of us won’t be affected by this presidency, but others are going to die,” UNLV history professor Tessa Winkelmann said Thursday, according to a video submitted to Campus Reform. “Other people will die because of this. And we’ve seen this happen, right?”
Winkelmann used Trump’s remarks threatening military action in North Korea as an example of how “words, especially if they’re coming from someone who is the president, have consequences.”
“I don’t know that these events would have inevitably happened whether or not he got elected, but he has rhetorical powers every president has to encourage or to discourage,” she said of the Las Vegas shooting. “So far all he’s done is to encourage violence.”
The Las Vegas shooting that took place October 2 killed 59 and wounded more than 500 others after gunman Stephen Paddock shot attendees of a country music concert from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay.
A student told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Winkelmann’s comments divided the classroom and led to students shouting at each other.
Both the university and the White House condemned Winkelmann’s comments.
“While we respect academic freedom in the classroom and the right to free speech, we believe the comments were insensitive, especially given the series of events this week and the healing process that has begun in the community,” UNLV spokesman Tony Allen said.
“It is sad she is teaching students such divisive, inaccurate and irresponsible rhetoric,” said White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “She should be ashamed of herself, and the university should look into it. What a terrible example to set for students.”
Winkelmann eventually apologized for her comments.
“I regret that my comments caused more pain during this difficult time. Emotions were running high, and I wish I would have been more thoughtful in how I directed the conversation,” she said.