MSNBC Uses Segment on Boston Beating to Scold Trump for Rhetoric

Saturday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Melissa Harris-Perry,” devoted a segment on the beating of a homeless man by two people in Boston who reportedly said “Donald Trump was right,” and “All these illegals need to be deported” to scolding Trump for his “rhetoric.”

Guest host Janet Mock said that she wanted to be clear, “we cannot claim, and we are not claiming that Trump’s stump speech caused this alleged attack, directly or indirectly.” She continued, “But rhetoric doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Words can matter.”

Juan Cartagena, the President and General Counsel of LatinoJustice PRLDEF, said that while there’s no “cause and effect” between Trump’s rhetoric and the beating, “anti-immigrant” rhetoric “does not help.” He continued that the hearts and minds of Americans need to be changed so they “recognize the value that all immigrants give to this country.” He later added, “Well, his [Trump’s] first remarks were, [paraphrasing] ‘It’s a shame. But by the way, my followers are passionate.’ So, he’s trying to basically say, ‘There’s a number of people who follow me, who feel this way. And he’s trying to reach those individuals. … So, what you’re looking at [is] a person who actually believes that a lot of his followers are prepared to do anything to get the country right again.”

Columbia Law School Vice Dean Jamal Greene stated that public figures in general have the responsibility to be responsible with their rhetoric. He added, “Donald Trump talks about political correctness as if it’s a dirty word. But it’s really just about responsibility. It’s about being a respectful person, being a decent person, and using that as an example.”

Guest host Ari Melber discussed hate crimes and the church shooting in Charleston, SC, before saying, “And yet, when you look at what the candidates are saying there. And the sort of — the mood of Donald Trump, what he’s tapping into is something very different than that. The notion that the people who are actually, somewhat oppressed, are Americans who feel, whatever you want to call it, social pressure not to say certain things.”

Greene responded, “This is a kind of politics of victimization, and saying that anyone on your side is being victimized in a particular way. And we’ve seen it before.”

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