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CNN’s Jake Tapper and Rep. Rashida Tlaib Exchange Barbs Over Tying Rhetoric of Leaders to Violence

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) called out CNN’s Jake Tapper for his comment about holding leaders to account for rhetoric that inspires white nationalist terrorists — in the same way conservatives hold Palestinian leaders responsible for rhetoric that inspires violence.

Tlaib called Tapper’s comments “fundamentally a lie,” prompting the anchor to respond on Monday.

On CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Tapper spoke of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, carried out by a gunman fearing a “Hispanic invasion.”

“You hear Republicans talk all the time, rightly, in my view, about the tone set by, well, the Arab world,” Tapper said. “The Palestinians and the way they talk about Israelis, justifying, in the same way you’re doing, no direct link between what the leader says and the violence to some poor Israeli girl in a pizzeria, but the idea you’re validating this hatred.”

“You can’t compare the ideology of Hamas with anything else,” he said. “But at the same time, either tone matters or it doesn’t.”

Al Jazeera host Sana Saeed was first to call out Tapper, describing his comments as “the height of unethical journalism” in a tweet. “[You] invoke Palestinians & Arabs as a comparison to white nationalist violence in the US?”

“This is blatant anti-Arab bigotry & Islamophobia,” she said. “CNN needs to take action.”

Tlaib, a progressive Democrat newly-elected to Congress, piled on the CNN anchor:

“Comparing Palestinian human rights advocates to terrorist white nationalists is fundamentally a lie,” she wrote in her own tweet. “Palestinians want equality, human dignity & to stop the imprisonment of children.”

“White supremacy is calling for the *domination* of one race w/ the use of violence,” Tlaib wrote.

Tapper responded to Tlaib in a tweet Monday.

“I never said that,” he wrote on Twitter. “What I said was those who believe Palestinian leaders bear responsibility for the incitement of terrorism cannot then let US leaders off the hook and act as if words don’t matter.”

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Aidan McLaughlin is the Editor of Mediaite. Send tips via email: aidan@mediaite.com. Ask for Signal. Follow him on Twitter: @aidnmclaughlin