Donna Brazile: Trump 'runs away from his responsibility as a leader'

The Powerhouse Roundtable discusses possible political implications of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and a series of mail bombs allegedly sent by a supporter of President Trump.
18:21 | 10/28/18

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Transcript for Donna Brazile: Trump 'runs away from his responsibility as a leader'
thing what's going on with hate in our country frankly and all over the world. Something has to be done. This is a dispute that will always exist. If they had some kind of protection inside the temple, maybe it could have been a very much different situation. The world is a violent world. You think when you're over it, it goes away. Then it comes back in the form of a madman, a whacko. I think they should stiffen up laws and bring the death penalty in. They should pay the ultimate price. President trump's first reaction to the shooting in Pittsburgh. On his way to a campaign rally in Illinois yesterday. We'll talk about this in our round table. We're joined by Matthew dowd, Mary Jordan, riehan Salman, former homeland security advise Tom bosser and Donna Brazile. Matt, I said we shouldn't have been surprised by this. Were they inevitable? Much of it has been predictable. I'll quote yoda which says the path to the dark side is fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate and hate leads to suffering. We're at a moment in time where we have to speak clearly and calmly in the times we're in. I think our leaders and I would put specific responsibility on the president, he has an obligation to rid us of much of this tribalism. I think what he's done over the course of the last few year is help foment this. He's not responsible for what happened in Pittsburgh or the bombs that were sent or the super market. All of those have a commonality. A white national supremacist shot two blacks at a super market. A white national supremacist sent 17 ieds across the country to democratic leaders. A white national supremacist killed 11 jewish people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. In the course of that I think the president has not allocated resources to deal with it in the right way and has not spoken in the right way that diminished hate. Tom, you worked as homeland security adviser. I'm sad to hear it all. Even this morning, the lead in to this was the focus on the president's comment instead of the quote I was hoping to see which is the quote of anti-semitism. Wait a second. That was his first response. That was his instinctive response to what happened. No. What he then said in the speech is what was scripted? That's not accurate. He has control of what's scripted. You're saying that wasn't accurate. It wasn't his first response. It was a question thrown to him about gun control. The question was already political. The reports were asking what is your stance on gun control after this issue. His response to the American people is there's no room for anti-semitism. That's what I want to promote today. Tom, when the child has an absent parent, the other parent steps up. When the country is going through a lot of pain and strive, you look for the president to be the parent figure. Yesterday, I think, at that moment he was not the parent we needed. He was not the person that could heal us and talk about the pain. He runs away from his responsibility as a leader. We're leaders. We all have voices. His voice is the loudest at a moment like this. A moment when our leaders, our former presidents, regardless of their party, they were elected by the American people. Their lives were stake. The lives of our attorney general, the lives of members of congress, the lives of regular people. People in the media. People at this table. When you're talking to voters because we're days away from an important election. What they say is the country is in need of repair and they want a repairman or repairwoman to fix this. Oy -- I think the 2020 election will be on this point. People say that. But do they vote to back up what they say? It depends who we're giving them. This is one of the key questions for 2020 is who are the Democrats going to give? Right now we're still in two camps. Right now it's about getting the vote out for this side or this side. This whole election is about trump. Are you with him or against him? We'll see about how the turn out is. One thing I feel compelled to say is that you had brave women and men, police officers who intervened in squirrel hill. Folks stopped that shooter in Louisville, Kentucky. People are putting themselves in grave danger. These are women and men who have different political beliefs. Some of them are Republicans. Some of them are Democrats. Some support the president. Others absolutely do not. Yet they were able to come together to work effectively. One dynamic you see is that we tend to invest a lot in our politicians. We identify with them. The problem is then that you have these distinctions getting blurred. You have people who exploit a certain climate. People who are hateful dangerous people. This gentleman sent bombs and threatened Florida power and light in 2002 with an attack. You have these people who have a pre-existing narrative. They'll cook up this hatred and connect it to other things. There are other Americans who support this or that political cause who feel as though, wait a second, are you trying to silence me when I have a concern about this or that issue? That further deepens the political divide. That further pits us one against another. It's important to remember again these public servants, these ordinary decent people come in many different shapes, sizes and colors and political affiliations. That's something we learn again and again. It gets back to the question, what responsibility do politicians have to that. This is not a both sides moment. Anybody that acts like this is a both sides moment, the president has a special responsibility at times like this. The country as a whole is not as tribalized as Washington is. It doesn't view politics the same as the president does. It doesn't access those levels of hate and discourse that the president does. The president has a special responsibility. I'm not Michael Angelo. I can paint by number. When you string together the president's actions and words, and you string together all those things he's done, let's not forget that what happened in Pittsburgh was because -- this man was radicalized because of the language of the hebrew immigrant aid society. He was mad that refugees and immigrants were given what he considered special privileges. He referenced the caravan. Let's also not forget within this week the president proudly claimed himself a nationalist and proudly castigated the immigrants that are walking miles and miles. As he does that, not all Americans, most are good people, the president in my view has to come to terms with this and his own responsibility and where we are as a country today. Matt, there is so much to agree with in what you said. We should not lose sight of the fact that this awful villain is someone that accused the president of being part of a jewish conspiracy. He is someone who sees the president as a globalist who is seeking to destroy the country. This is someone who is a noxious poisonous person who believed ideas that did not begin with one president or another. Anti-semitism is a dangerous threat in nations around the world. Hold on a second. Why has it risen dramatically in the past two years? The reason he castigated the president is because he didn't think the president hated enough. He didn't think the president was anti immigrant enough. Absolutely and the fact that you have jewish members of his administration who are central to his larger political project. He was deeply suspicious. I don't think you can attribute this man's hatefulness solely to one political party. We should never do that. In 1958 a jewish synagogue -- They are. I'm not attributing it to him. I'm saying he's part of the problem. Pretty close. I believe the leadership is lacking. I'm a daughter of the south. This is a moment for us. I mean, my parents and grandparents had to come home and comfort us knowing that we were in danger just because of what we looked like. A jewish synagogue was bombed in Atlanta in 1958. Four little black girls were murdered four years ago. When is this hate going to stop? There's been a rise in anti-semitism and racist violent rhetoric in our country. I don't blame the president alone. I blame all of us. We have to tone this down and take responsibility for each other. Come together because our children -- what are we going to tell our children? I couldn't agree with you more. One of the most dangerous things I'm hearing is people are saying I'm more disillusioned, not because of trump, he can lie. He can spin conspiracy theories. He's one guy. He's always done that. I'm more disillusioned because so many people are listening to him. He's going to leave office and people that had trump signs in their yard are going to stay. The divide is dangerously wide. When I look at my neighbors, now I think they're anti me. This is why the attacks are so dangerous. The attacks on the media has worked. The president has at least two years left in office. Tom, what does he do now? What does he do in this moment? One of the things that troubles me about this is it furthers what everybody thought of him. If you thought kindly of him, or gave him an open mind, you brought that to the table. If you didn't, you don't. That's in fairness to all of you. There's some commonality at this table. This shocks all of us. It shocks the president. I know him. You don't watch this and you're not moved. He's moved by the humanity of this. I went to the university of Pittsburgh. I know squirrel hill well. These are good people. I'll until -- I'll tell you what I think. I think it's a simplistic response to let's just blame trump. Donna is right. This has been going for a long time. To have a conversation about stopping hate and empowering our law enforcement with something other than guns -- which they used admirably. I'm proud -- I hate to say it -- of the tactical response that we saw. It's the reality of our world. As homeland security adviser, we'll see more on that. I don't think the president is going to be able to sustain this level of rhetoric. He's going to make his case on the border. For example he spoke last night in Illinois. You're going to be happy because he's going to announce these emergency actions on Tuesday to close the border. Should the president keep the focus on the caravan in the wake of what we saw yesterday? You can't stop pointing out the facts that there's an increased problem at the border. At this point facts just like Mr. Greenblatt espoused today. It's not him trying to incite anything. He called it a national emergency. Mr. Greenblatt? The president. He made people think they're right on the Texas border. They're a thousand miles away. And there's ISIS. It's fear mongering. If you don't allow -- He's used this for politics. He's trying to use it to change policy. It's all politics. Tom, you know the facts as well as anybody. Yeah. The facts are there's more of a danger in this country today from violence committed by white supremacists than radical islams. Yeah. There's more crime committed by white supremacists than people sitting in a caravan. But what does the president do? We're not allocating resources to deal with that. Forgive me. We're sending 800 soldiers -- If you look at the European migrant crisis, it was desperate people fleeing Syria and Iraq. Then there were folks from Mo rock ka and Pakistan and other points. When you have subtle shifts, you can get a big cascade. You can get a big reaction. This is a serious issue. We need to talk about it calmly and dispassionately. There's no question the migrant caravan is a big issue. When you have a migration of this kind, you can get a political backlash and that can be a rolling emergency. That's what we need to prevent. We need to remember that all of us have an interest in border security. It's not about pitting one group against another. It's true that president trump hasn't always has been as careful as he ought to be in talking about it. There's no question it's a big issue. Ten years ago you would have had bipartisan agreement on this. It troubles me you can't talk about it in a measured way. Have Democrats figured out -- You know what troubles me? The president said Democrats is doing it. George Soros. Putting a target on Mr. Soros. He cares about our country. He had to flee anti-semitism. His family. George, let's go back to what happened in Pittsburgh. There's been a surge in violence in the jewish community, vandalism. There's been a surge in bomb threats. There's been a surge in cemetery demarkation. We need to focus on that. It is terrifying. It is terrifying and wrong. It is the case that there are many Americans, prominent American who engage in politics and they become targets. This is not unique to George Soros. But it is unique to have a president that is so combative and his style is attack. He boasts about I'm going to hit them, punch them ten times harder at a time when we want to tamper things down. Democrats want safe borders. Why does it have to be the attack? The combative trump style. The mistrust at this point has grown to a point where I'm afraid there's not going to be any necessary reform. It's reached an emergency level. Let's not use rhetoric which justifies violence. It's reached a level where thousands of children are sitting in dhhs custody. Thigh -- they're without their parents. The laws passed in 2000 and 1965 don't match up with the realities. We need a change. The president is calling for it. People distrust the president so we can't get change. That's where we are. That doesn't mean we can hang a mass murder around his neck. I want the rhetoric to be calm. Yoj the American viewers are looking at president trump as a viewer. No one said that at this table. Not one person said that. He's responsible for the rhetoric that led to the mass murder. He's responsible for fomenting and using rhetoric. I'm not saying he's responsible for any of the incidents that happened this week at. Let me go back to this. Yes, we need border security. Yes, we need solutions to the problems. Yes, we should be welcoming to immigrants in this country. Yes, we should be a country that deals compassionately with refugees. We as a country are not allocating resources to problems in a priority order. The biggest problem of violence in this country is from white supremacists. We're allocating no money to deal with that problem. We're sending 800 soldiers to the border for people who are thousands of miles away. You're doing a disservice to the intelligence agencies and those working in homeland security who are profoundly concerned about this. You have a domestic terror attack. Does the president talk about white supremacy? With the tendency to match one party's rhetoric with another party's rhetoric, we're constantly egging one another on rather than looking to the first responders and how they look together. Can I just say in talking to real people and voters in Georgia, they just miss the America that they loved. They are like we are not these people. They want someone to put to words and talk about things like the melting pot. As opposed to the combative style. People miss the America they know. That's right. We have a week before the election. We'll see if we hear it. Thank you very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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