Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison said President Trump is implicitly encouraging anti-Muslim activity, including the deaths of two men who were killed when they tried to stop a man from harassing Muslim women.
Ellison, who is also vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, said during an MSNBC interview on Saturday that Trump is the "cheerleader of it all" when it comes to anti-Muslim rhetoric, and pointed to the killing of two men in Portland, Ore., last month as an example.
Those two men intervened on behalf of two women who were being harassed by a white supremacist on a commuter train. The man then turned violent and stabbed three men, two of whom died.
"This kind of thing is green-lighted by the president's rhetoric," Ellison said.
Ellison said Trump's courting of nationalist figures is the main catalyst behind anti-Muslim rallies in tens of cities around the country scheduled for Saturday.
"He has given a stamp of approval to a lot of haters," Ellison said.
The rallies promote the idea that Sharia law, Muslim religious law, is creeping into the mainstream and overtaking American law. Ellison said that's simply not true and is an idea promoted by anti-Muslim activists to make people afraid of Muslims.
"What we're seeing is intolerance sort of take over and the president is the cheerleader of it all," he said.