White House dismisses praise of Trump by New Zealand shooter




  • In Politics
  • 2019-03-17 14:01:46Z
  • By Reuters
White House dismisses praise of Trump by New Zealand shooter
White House dismisses praise of Trump by New Zealand shooter  

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - The White House pushed back
on Sunday against any attempt to link President Donald Trump to
the accused shooter who killed 50 people in two New Zealand
mosques, saying the act of a disturbed individual cannot be
blamed on any one politician.

"The president is not a white supremacist. I'm not sure how
many times we have to say that," White House acting chief of
staff Mick Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday."

Trump on Friday condemned the "horrible massacre" at the
mosques and the White House called the shooting a "vicious act
of hate."

Asked by a reporter on Friday if he sees white nationalism
as a rising threat around the world, Trump said: "I don't
really. I think it's a small group of people."

The accused gunman's manifesto praised the U.S. president as
"a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose," even
though he did not support his policies. The reference revived
criticism that Trump has not been strong enough in condemning
hate speech and has fomented anti-Muslim sentiment.

"I don't think it's fair to cast this person as a supporter
of Donald Trump," Mulvaney said. "Any more than it is to look at
his eco-terrorist passages in that manifesto and align him with
(Democratic House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi or Ms. Ocasio-Cortez," a
Democratic congresswoman.

"This was a disturbed individual, an evil person," he said.

Trump drew strong criticism in the days after a deadly white
supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 when he
equated white supremacists with counter-protesters and saying
"both sides" were to blame.

"Time and time again, this president has embraced and
emboldened white supremacists-and instead of condemning racist
terrorists, he covers for them. This isn't normal or
acceptable," Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 Democratic
presidential candidate, said on Twitter after Friday's mosque
shootings.

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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