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Chelsea Clinton Confronted by Students Who Claimed Her 'Rhetoric' Had 'Stoked' New Zealand Mosque Massacre


Chelsea Clinton was confronted Friday night by college students at a vigil for the victims of the New Zealand mosque massacre, where the students blamed Clinton for being a part of a group of individuals whose “rhetoric” had “stoked” the violence that led to the shooting.

“This right here is the result of a massacre stoked by people like you and the words you put out there,” Leen Dweik, an international relations and Middle Eastern and Islamic studies student at New York University (NYU), said in a video taken Friday night at the vigil. “I want you to know that and I want you to feel that deep inside. Forty-nine people died because of the rhetoric you put out there.”

Other students circled around, snapping in support of Dweik.

Dweik told ABC News she was referring to comments Clinton made on Twitter criticizing Rep. Ilhan Omar, one of the first Muslim women in Congress, for suggesting that members of Congress support Israel because they receive campaign donations from pro-Israel groups and individuals.

Critics, including some of Omar’s  Democratic colleagues, said her comments about lobbying and Israel played to anti-Semitic tropes.

Omar apologized for her remarks, but argued she felt it important to continue the dialogue about lobbying and whether money influences the relationship between countries, USA TODAY reports.

Clinton, who is pregnant with her third child, placed her hands close to her heart and said she was sorry they felt her comments were wrong.

“I am so sorry that you feel that way,” Clinton told the students. “It certainly was never my intention. I do believe that words matter. I believe we have to show solidarity with each other.”

The students said they felt the need to speak up after the controversy surround Omar.

“When we saw Chelsea Clinton at the vigil...we saw an opportunity to access someone who has a huge public platform and who used that platform to attack Rep. Ilhan Omar,” Dweik told ABC News in a statement Saturday. “We took our chance to speak truth to power.”

“Clinton used her vast platform to weaponize antisemitism and to silence criticism of Israel...and in doing so fanned the flames of racism and Islamophobia,” she added. “We know that our only safety is through solidarity. The fight against Islamophobia is the fight against antisemitism is the fight against racism is the fight against white supremacy. When someone attacks one of us, they attack all of us.”

But the video brought unexpected bipartisan support, as both Republicans and Democrats came to Clinton’s defense, including President Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.

Trump Jr. wrote that it was “sickening” to see people blame Clinton for the mosque attacks because she spoke out against anti-Semitism, adding that all forms of hate should be condemned, The Huffington Post reports.

“Chelsea should be praised for speaking up,” he wrote. “Anyone who doesn’t understand this is part of the problem.”

Former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee also came to Clinton’s defense, saying the blame lies solely with the gunman.

“Blaming Chelsea Clinton for NZ massacre is as dumb as blaming @realDonaldTrump for it, or blaming Bernie Sanders for assassination attempt of @SteveScalise It's the shooter's fault. Period,” Huckabee said, referring to the 2017 congressional baseball shooting suspect who was a Sanders supporter. “No one ‘MADE’ him do it.”

Clinton also received support from the Democratic National Committee’s Donna Brazile, who wrote that Clinton “is a woman of valor and grace. I love her civility and respect during a confrontation with a few angry souls.

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