POLITICS
02/07/2017 02:50 pm ET

GOP Congressman Insists White Terrorist Attacks Are Totally Different

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) also pointed to "the good things" that came from the shooting of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) said there should be no more refugees from Syria coming into the United States until "they figure out this conflict in the civil war and this hotbed for terrorism."

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) vehemently defended President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and travelers Tuesday, arguing that terrorists who come from the Middle East are an existential threat to the United States and totally different from white domestic terrorists, who just commit “one-off” incidents that the government can’t do anything about. 

Duffy said Trump was justified in stopping Syrian refugees from entering the United States “until in Syria they figure out this conflict in the civil war and this hotbed for terrorism.” Presumably, however, once the conflict is over, women and children, for example, won’t feel it is as necessary to escape their country to find a safe haven. 

Host Alisyn Camerota pressed Duffy on Trump claiming that the media were intentionally covering up terrorist attacks and either not reporting or underreporting them. The White House later Monday released a list of 78 attacks it said backed up Trump’s claim.

The list notably did not include a recent attack on Muslims inside a Quebec City mosque that killed six people. Trump, who frequently tweets about terrorist attacks, also has not mentioned this one. 

Duffy argued in his CNN interview that attacks by white people ― such as the one in Quebec City ― aren’t as big of a problem. 

“You don’t have a group like ISIS or al Qaeda that is inspiring people around the world to take up arms and kill innocents. That was a one-off. That was a one-off, Alisyn,” Duffy said.

Camerota then pointed to the massacre of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015 and the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, as acts carried out by white terrorists. Duffy tried to make lemonade out of the Charleston attack, in which a white supremacist killed nine people: 

CAMEROTA: How about Charleston, congressman? He was an extremist. He was a white extremist? 

DUFFY: Yes, he was. OK?

CAMEROTA: How about that? That doesn’t matter? 

DUFFY: No, it does matter. It does matter. Look at the good things that came from it. [Then-South Carolina Gov.] Nikki Haley took down the Confederate flag, that was great. 

But you want to say I can give you a couple of examples. There’s no constant threat that goes through these attacks. And you have radical Islamic terrorists and ISIS that are driving the attacks, and if you want to compare those two, maybe you can throw another one ― 

CAMEROTA: You can. 

Duffy claimed that people on the left were manufacturing outrage, saying there was plenty of blame to go around. 

“Look at Gabby Giffords. The Marxist, who took her life, a leftist guy, and now you see violence and terror in the streets all across America, burning and beating people with Donald Trump hats. The violence you have to look in, you’re trying to use examples on the right,” he said.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) is not dead. As a congresswoman in 2011, she survived an assassination attempt, and she remains an outspoken proponent of gun safety reform.

Duffy said he’d be happy to help do something about white supremacy but he just didn’t know what to do: “Can we vet that? How should we vet that to keep ourselves safe? I will join you in that effort, what do you do?”  

Watch Duffy’s full interview below: 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked radical-right terrorist plots that have occurred since the Oklahoma City bombing and has a list here

There have been zero fatal terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 1975 by immigrants from the seven countries listed in Trump’s executive order. The order restricts travelers from those countries from coming to the U.S. for 90 days, prevents refugees from all countries from entering the U.S. for 120 days and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Want more updates from Amanda Terkel? Sign up for her newsletter, Piping Hot Truth, here.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST

The World Protests President Trump

CONVERSATIONS