Bernie Sanders says Alexandria shooting seems to be tied to suppression of free speech

Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor on June 14, 2017.
Source: Uncredited/AP
Sen. Bernie Sanders on the Senate floor on June 14, 2017.
Source: Uncredited/AP

Sen. Bernie Sanders seemed to agree with his Republican colleague Sen. Marco Rubio on the root cause of an attempted massacre of GOP legislators this week, saying on CBS News' Face the Nation he thought it was tied to suppression of free speech.

Sanders appeared to want use the interview to talk about the GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which Senate Republicans are writing in secret. But host John Dickerson instead drew Sanders into an extended discussion by asking if he agreed that "when people try to stop free speech, stop people from talking, it creates pressure in the system that might cause people to act out," a point made earlier on the program by Rubio.

"I think he's right," Sanders responded. "Look. Freedom of speech, the right to dissent, the right to protest, that is what America is about. And politically every leader in this country and every American has got to stand up against any form of violence. That is unacceptable."

Dickerson turned the topic to the protests over right-wing speakers on campuses which have rocked numerous colleges and universities in recent years, a common conservative talking point. Again, Sanders seemed to agree the issue had something to do with the shooting.

"I think people have a right to speak," Sanders said. "... Why should we be afraid of somebody coming on a campus or anyplace else and speaking? You have a right to protest. But I don't quite understand why anybody thinks it's a good idea to deny somebody else the right to express his or her point of view."

"I think, and, again, where this is such a strange moment is we are looking at a lot of dishonest news that comes across where people are lying outrageously about other people," the senator added, saying he hoped disagreements over issues like tax cuts and health care could be "played out based on the facts."

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Tom McKay

Tom is a staff writer at Mic, covering national politics, media, policing and the war on drugs. He is based in New York and can be reached at tmckay@mic.com.

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