An MSNBC contributor and college professor said Monday that the United States will experience a "Charlie Hebdo situation" because of President Donald Trump's attacks on the media.
Jason Johnson, a tenured journalism professor at Morgan State University and politics editor at The Root magazine, accused Trump of inciting violence against journalists and predicted his words will lead to a physical attack on the media.
"We're going to have a Charlie Hebdo situation here, without question," Johnson said, speaking to MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle and fellow network guest Bret Stephens, a New York Times columnist. "It is going to happen because of the behavior of this president."
"Please don't let that be true," Ruhle responded.
Johnson was referring to a terrorist attack in January 2015, when gunmen belonging to al Qaeda's branch in Yemen killed 12 people and injured several others after storming into the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Ruhle began the discussion about Trump's attacks on the media by referencing Stephens' latest column, titled "Trump Will Have Blood on His Hands." In his column, Stephens writes that he received a voice message from a blocked phone number that said, in part, "You're worthless, the press is the enemy of the United States people and, you know what, rather than me shoot you, I hope a Mexican and, even better yet, I hope a n— shoots you in the head, dead."
"Blood will be on [Trump's] hands the moment some whackjob thinks he is carrying out the instructions of the president and goes into a newsroom like the one behind us or the one in my news organization or yours and murders people," Stephens told Ruhle.
Ruhle said that he hopes Stephens is wrong, but "let's pretend that he isn't."
"Bret says the president will have blood on his hands. Will he? Or will the answer again be blame ‘on many sides?'" Ruhle asked, referencing the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, after which Trump said both rally supporters and those who protested against the event had "good people" among them and suggested they shared responsibility for the violence that ensured.
Johnson said Trump will not take responsibility for actions that result from his rhetoric, and neither will the Republican Party.
Stephens slammed the idea that people should take the president "seriously but not literally" since many Trump supporters take everything he says at face value.
"This is why you take a moral stand before the tragic event occurs," Stephens said.
Trump has increased his attacks on the media in recent days, tweeting Sunday that the media is the "enemy of the people" and can "cause war."
The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018