A CNN commentator said Monday that President Trump is worse than the Islamic State, though she promptly took the words back when people began responding on social media.
Julia Ioffe, who also is a correspondent for GQ and writes for The Washington Post, said in a segment on CNN’s “The Lead,” to the disbelief of other guests and to GOP officials on social media, that “this president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.”
She elaborated that Mr. Trump’s radicalization tools are “the way he talks, the way he allows, and winks and nods.”
On the segment, fellow panelists David Urban and Mona Charen quickly responded, with Mr. Urban verbally rolling his eyes and saying over her explanation that “that’s impossible to say that.”
Michael Ahrens, rapid response director for the Republican National Committee, posted a clip of the segment Monday and replied with a single word: “Insane.”
On CNN, @juliaioffe just said "this president has radicalized so many more people than ISIS ever did.”
— Michael Ahrens (@michaelahrens) October 29, 2018
Host Jake Tapper defended on Twitter his handling of the segment, saying that “as i explained live on air, I went right to @monacharenEPPC and @DavidJUrban to debate her, and they were eager to do so. It’s a panel not an interview.”
In a later CNN segment, Ms. Ioffe, saying she had started to see social-media blowback, called her language “ham-fisted” and “heated,” saying that it was not her point to call Mr. Trump worse than ISIS.
“I think I spoke in the heat of the moment … I exaggerated and I apologize for that,” she said, though elaborated that her point was that it was “no coincidence” that anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. have risen under Mr. Trump, according to figures from the Anti-Defamation League.
But the initial CNN segment wasn’t Ms. Ioffe’s only claim Monday that the U.S. is a worse place than a dictatorship where the killing of political opponents is common.
“I have to say, I feel less safe as a journalist in America these days than I ever did in Russia. A lot less safe,” she wrote on Twitter earlier.
I have to say, I feel less safe as a journalist in America these days than I ever did in Russia. A lot less safe.
— Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) October 29, 2018
She also had directly accused Mr. Trump of causing Saturday’s attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue, where a gunman killed 11 elderly Jews, and sarcastically noted that he had moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in a hugely symbolic gesture of support for the Jewish state.
“And a word to my fellow American Jews: This president makes this possible. Here. Where you live. I hope the embassy move over there, where you don’t live was worth it,” she wrote Saturday, within hours of attack.
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