Rep. Adam Kinzinger said Friday morning that even if the gunman in the New Zealand mosque massacre cited President Trump in his "manifesto," it is wrong to blame the president for his violent actions. In a debate with CNN's John Berman, Kinzinger pushed back on attempts to tie language used by the president to that of the mosque gunman who killed 49 people in Christchurch, NZ.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN: You asked for God to change peoples' hearts. I have a question. Does God need to change people’s language? And I ask you that, because this killer apparently in a screed, some people call it a manifesto, said he’s a supporter of President Trump as a "symbol of white identity." Why would anyone see the president as a symbol of white identity?
REP. ADAM KINZINGER: I think God needs to change people’s hearts, and I bet he does. He needs to change their language. You cannot put this on President Trump.
BERMAN: I’m not putting this on President Trump. There is a one man who pulled the trigger here. Okay? The person giving a sign of allegiance to President Trump is the killer here. He called him a "symbol of white identity." The language he uses in this manifesto is all about invaders. It is all about invaders, which is similar language to the killer at the synagogue in Pittsburgh and language President Trump used in a campaign ad before the midterm election. The word invader means something to white supremacists around the world. Why?
KINZINGER: To make the connection of a president to say I’m concerned with illegal immigration — to say that and go to a guy that's willing to kill 50 people he may say, President Trump is my idol. That doesn’t put it on President Trump. I don’t know what a sick man that would kill 49 people innocently was thinking. I don’t have any idea what was in his mind. I know this. It cannot be connected. We cannot say what is it President Trump is doing that is somehow triggering these people? This is an evil man that made a decision to murder 49 people. And that is on him. Frankly, the evil in his heart.
BERMAN: If this monster is hearing something in the word "invader," and the president is using the word, can the president really not do anything?
KINZINGER: The president can come out and reaffirm, as he did in his statement, and as he did on Twitter, that this is disgusting and wrong. He can say it in his verbal language, but for somebody to be triggered to evil and put it in some manifesto--
Look, I don't agree with all the president's language on immigration, but
BERMAN: Do you agree with the invasion statement?
KINZINGER: No, I don't think it is an invasion. I think there are things when it comes to drug cartels and human trafficking...
BERMAN: I'm just showing you what these people are saying, we're not showing the manifesto, but the title of it is "The Great Replacement." Where did we hear "replacement"? I heard it in Charlottesville, when those white supremacists were chanting, "Jews will not replace us!"
People that the president called "very fine people." Twitter is everywhere, the television is everywhere. People hear this. If you're a monster and you hear the president of the United States say that, what are you supposed to do?
KINZINGER: I’m not defending all of the president’s language on this stuff. What I am saying though if you look at the Holocaust where six million Jews were killed and Hitler basically brought a bunch of people into evil thinking to do what they did, that was way before President Trump.
This hate for people, whether it’s religion or race has been since the beginning of humanity. This disgusting animal is evil. If President Trump’s language triggered him, that wasn’t intentional, that wasn't President Trump triggering. This is a disgusting person that frankly deserves, I think, to die. I’m not sure what his future is going to be in New Zealand.