Jeh Johnson: Violent Extremists Feel "Emboldened And Encouraged" By Rhetoric From Leaders


Jeh Johnson, who served as President Obama's Director of Homeland Security, speaks to MSNBC's Stephanie Ruhle about the threat posed by white nationalist radicals in the U.S.:

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC: Mr. Secretary, you have been speaking recently on this need to return to decency and civility, not pointing the finger at one specific group or another. How did we get here and why?

JEH JOHNSON: Well, Stephanie, thanks for having me on this important topic. There is, without a doubt, a rising tide of hate and violence based upon racism, bigotry, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, in this country and now across the planet.

Most recently, the Dutch attack and then New Zealand. When I read, for example, the manifesto left by the Coast Guard officer who was arrested last month, in Maryland, I could not help but think that he and others who have turned to violence felt as though, in their own deranged mind, they were emboldened and encouraged to do so by some very large voices that perhaps would even condone what they’re doing, in their deranged minds. And so without a doubt, there’s a correlation between what these people who turn to violence feel they should do and the rhetoric that we actually see online.

And so, what I've been advocating is that our leaders, those who command a microphone, have to raise the level of civility and accept responsibility for their words, which lead to certain actions in the minds of certain deranged people, it makes violence inevitable. And so our leaders have to accept responsibility for this. People do listen to their leaders.

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