Ex-SC governor: Trump 'partially' to blame for rhetoric that led to shooting

Updated: Jun. 15, 2017 at 12:19 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIS) - Congressman Mark Sanford said President Donald Trump is "partially" responsible for the rhetoric "unleashed" in the nation that appears to have caused a congressman to be shot on Wednesday.

Appearing on MSNBC's Morning Joe, Sanford said the environment on Capitol Hill following the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has been "surreal" and that civility must return to politics.

"If you let these forces play out, I think we end up at a very, very bad spot and I think yesterday was very symptomatic of it," Sanford said.

Sanford went on to suggest ways Congress could cut through the gridlock and make meaningful changes to the way the country handles its business. However, it appears according to Sanford, that sort of change comes from the top.

"I would argue that the president has unleashed, partially, again not in anyway totally, but partially to blame for the demons that have been unleashed," Sanford said.

Sanford went further, making reference to Trump saying he'd pay the legal fees of anyone who punched a protester in the face. Sanford said those comments were "bizarre."

The former two-term governor also called back to his own recent town halls that have been reduced to partisan rancor and the reasoning he's heard from constituents on why things have become so angry.

"They'll say, 'If the guy at the top can say anything to anybody anytime, why can't I?'" Sanford said.

Sanford ended the interview saying he hopes Wednesday's shooting will ultimately become a turning point moment in a deeply divided nation.

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