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Chelsea Clinton berated by students blaming her 'rhetoric' for causing New Zealand shootings

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Dozens of peoples were gunned down after a gunman opened fire in two Islamic mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Video of Chelsea Clinton being confronted by several students who claimed her “rhetoric” had “stoked” the New Zealand mosque attacks went viral Saturday — and allowed for an unexpected bipartisan moment. 

The video was taken Friday at a vigil in New York for the 49 victims of the shootings, which targeted two mosques in the city of Christchurch. Students confronted Clinton, who is pregnant with her third child, over statements she’d made denouncing anti-Semitism.  

“This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words that you put out into the world,” one student said in the video. “I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep inside. The 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

Other students who circled around started snapping in support, a showing of solidarity instead of clapping.

More: New Zealand mosque shootings: How U.S. racism might be fueling hate around the world

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Clinton responded, putting her hands up to her heart, and telling the group that she was sorry they felt her comments were wrong. Clinton, the daughter of former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was one of many political leaders who denounced anti-Semitism after Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar criticized Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and alleged money and lobbying were driving the United States to defend Israel and halt debate over the issue. 

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More: Racist suspect sent copy of manifesto to New Zealand prime minister and nearly 70 others before opening fire, media report

“It’s sickening to see people blame @ChelseaClinton for the NZ attacks because she spoke out against anti-Semitism,” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, wrote on Twitter on Saturday. “We should all be condemning anti-Semitism all forms of hate. Chelsea should be praised for speaking up. Anyone who doesn’t understand this is part of the problem.”

Other Republicans used the confrontation to compare it to how President Donald Trump’s rhetoric has been blamed for stoking violence and allowing a rise to white supremacism. Conservative pundit Candace Owens, whose name was mentioned by the New Zealand gunman in his 74-page manifesto, said blaming others for such a tragedy was “nonsense.” 

More: ‘What good are your thoughts prayers’: Ocasio-Cortez criticized for comments on New Zealand shooting

More: New Zealand shows America’s mass shootings have global consequences

“It should go without saying but neither myself, @ChelseaClinton or Spyro the Dragon had anything to do with the tragedy in New Zealand,” Owens wrote on Twitter Saturday. “Please stop the nonsense.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a prominent conservative commentator, agreed and said the blame lies solely with the gunman. 

“Blaming Chelsea Clinton for NZ massacre is as dumb as blaming @realDonaldTrump for it, or blaming Bernie Sanders for assassination attempt of @SteveScalise It’s the shooter’s fault. Period,” Huckabee said, mentioning the 2017 congressional baseball shooting suspect who was a Sanders supporter. “No one ‘MADE’ him do it.”

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The White House rejected any link between the shooting and President Donald Trump. “It’s outrageous to even make that connection,” says the White House’s director of strategic communication Mercedes Schlapp. (March 15)
AP

 

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