Kellyanne Conway, President Donald Trump’s senior counselor, argued on Friday that anti-Trump “toxicity and rhetoric” must be toned down following the shooting at a Republican congressional baseball practice on Wednesday.
During an appearance on “Fox and Friends” on Friday, Conway suggested that violent imagery and personal attacks against Republicans indirectly encourage “armed resistance.”
“It’s one thing to say I disagree with you on healthcare repeal, or on taxes, or on your plan for national security,” Conway said. “But you can’t attack people personally in a way and think that tragedies like this won’t happen.”
The top White House aide referenced her own treatment on social media, claiming that many on Twitter would celebrate a violent attack on her.
“If I were shot and killed tomorrow, half of Twitter would explode in applause and excitement,” Conway said. “This is the world we live in now.”
She added that recent depictions of violence against Trump, including a photo of comedian Kathy Griffin holding the president’s severed and bloody mock head, are to blame for escalating antagonism.
Following the shooting, Trump called for unity despite deep political division.
“We may have our differences,” the president said on Wednesday, “but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country.”
Conway praised Trump’s response to the shooting, calling him the “healer-in-chief.”
But Trump and his supporters have also been accused of inciting violence against political opponents. In one notorious moment on the campaign trail, Trump appeared to suggest that gun owners should resort to violence against Hillary Clinton, whom he’s repeatedly claimed intends to “destroy” the right to bear arms.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” Trump told the crowd, adding, “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Watch the video below:
.@KellyannePolls: You can’t attack people personally, rather than on policy, and think tragedies like the Virginia shooting won’t happen pic.twitter.com/bKG56n6S1H
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) June 16, 2017