Wolf Blitzer's interview with Jane Sanders took an unexpected turn Thursday as the CNN host and the wife of the former presidential candidate sparred over the media's role in the current national political environment.
The interview followed news report Wednesday that the alleged gunman who opened fire on GOP lawmakers at a congressional baseball practice early Wednesday was a volunteer on the Sanders presidential campaign.
Blitzer had a clip ready to go, showing Sanders saying that Trump is perhaps the "worst and most dangerous president in the history of our country."
Asked whether she thought her husband went too far, Sanders seemed to turn the table, blaming the media for fanning the flames of political discourse.
Bernie Sanders and wife, Jane
Bernie Sanders and wife, Jane
Former Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders hugs his wife Jane after making a motion to suspend the rules and nominate Hillary Clinton as the Demcoratic presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gets a kiss from his wife Jane as he addresses supporters following the closing of the polls in the California presidential primary in Santa Monica, California, U.S., June 7, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane wave to the audience during a rally in Vallejo, California, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
PORTSMOUTH, NH - With Jane Sanders, Democratic Presumptive Nominee for President former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attends a rally with Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) at Portsmouth High School Gymnasium in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Tuesday, July 12, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Jane O'Meara Sanders walks on the floor during the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders kisses his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, at a rally in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States October 14, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (C) hugs his wife Jane Sanders (L) while actress Susan Sarandon surveys the overflow room at a campaign rally in Fairfield, Iowa January 28, 2016. REUTERS/Mark Kauzlarich
U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders' wife Jane (R) waves to the crowd as Sanders acknowledges her and his step daughters Carina (L) and Heather (C) as Sanders addresses his final campaign rally before the Iowa Caucus at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa January 31, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
Jane Sanders, wife of Vermont Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, listens during an interview following a campaign event in Fort Madison, Iowa, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. In advance of Monday's Iowa caucuses, the first electoral contest of the presidential primaries, Jane Sanders has ventured out often on her own, sometimes with multiple events the same day. Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, walks with his wife Jane Sanders ahead of the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Des Moines, Iowa, U.S., on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015. With Vice President Joe Biden officially out of the presidential race, the nation's first nominating contest between front-runner Hillary Clinton and Sanders is gaining steam, according to a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
FLORENCE, SOUTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 12: With his wife Jane O'Meara, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) prepares to speak at a Florence Town Hall Meeting in an arena in Florence, South Carolina on Saturday September 12, 2015. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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"I think the media needs to look at itself as well," she said. "The media characterizes every conversation as an adversarial one. Your job, the media's job, I think, is to illuminate the facts, not fan the flames...And the media continues to cover the latest scandal, the latest back and forth, but not the issues so much."
The normally stoic Blitzer wasn't having it: "If a president or a senator or someone of authority is making very, very strong statements, you want us to simply ignore those statements, if there's a social media post, a tweet and the president says something really, really strong....do you want us to censor those words as part of the news media?"
Sanders said the media should practice "self-reflection."
The back and forth looks a testy undertone with Blitzer defending the media and Sanders insisting that the media should "focus on the issues" rather than "who said what."
Since the shooting, some lawmakers have linked the current political discourse to the incident. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) was one of several people wounded in the shooting Wednesday, and he remains in the hospital.