By Colby Itkowitz and John Wagner | Washington Put up

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump mentioned Friday he doesn’t imagine white nationalism is a rising international menace after a gunman who espoused that ideology massacred 49 Muslims at mosques in New Zealand throughout their afternoon prayers.

“I don’t actually,” Trump mentioned when requested on the White Home whether or not white nationalists had been a rising international menace. “I believe it’s a small group of people who have very, very severe issues. It’s definitely a horrible factor.”

Trump mentioned he had not seen a manifesto, purportedly from one of many attackers, that named him as an inspiration for white id ideology.

Trump’s remarks got here throughout an Oval Workplace ceremony he held to problem his first veto of a decision blocking him from shifting cash round to construct a wall alongside the southern border geared toward conserving out undocumented immigrants.

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Trump, who has stoked worry about violent criminals and terrorists coming into the nation from Mexico, has additionally claimed with out proof that “Center Easterns” are sneaking in with asylum seekers and that Muslim prayer rugs had been discovered on the border.

In the course of the veto signing, Trump referred to folks making an attempt to invade the US as a motive for the wall. The New Zealand shooter in his manifesto wrote about invasions of foreigners.

Steve Cohen, a former Homeland Safety official within the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, mentioned there may be concern amongst regulation enforcement that Trump used the identical language.

“These white supremacists dwell on this conspiratorial bizarro world,” Cohen mentioned. “They’ll draw a connection between the usage of that language by the one that wrote the manifesto and statements being made by our authorities. That’s what is regarding regulation enforcement.”

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Trump has an extended historical past of derogatory remarks about Muslims, together with declaring in 2016 that “Islam hates us.” He formally proposed banning all Muslims from getting into the US in the course of the presidential marketing campaign, and since taking workplace his administration has carried out insurance policies barring residents of sure Muslim-majority international locations from getting into the US.

Shortly earlier than 7:30 a.m., the White Home issued its first response, within the type of a press release, to the assaults in Christchurch. Trump adopted up with a message on Twitter about 10 minutes later.

“My warmest sympathy and greatest needs goes out to the folks of New Zealand after the horrible bloodbath within the Mosques. 49 harmless folks have so senselessly died, with so many extra critically injured,” he wrote. “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for something we are able to do. God bless all!”

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Trump additionally mentioned he had spoken with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to supply his condolences and help.

The alleged shooter wrote that he was a supporter of Trump in a single sense however not utterly: “As an emblem of renewed white id and customary goal? Certain. As a policymaker and chief? Pricey god no.”

Within the doc, the person additionally acknowledged that he was following the instance of infamous right-wing extremists, together with Dylann Roof, who killed 9 black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

White Home counselor Kellyanne Conway when requested in regards to the shooter’s reference to Trump mentioned, “The shooter is an evil, hateful one that is improper about that.”

The Washington Put up’s Isaac Stanley-Becker and Katie Zezima contributed to this report.


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