The tragic mass shooting in New Zealand which claimed 49 innocent lives and injured numerous others today was carried out by a vile white nationalist who hates Muslims and immigrants and who views President Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.” One of his stated goals was to deepen cultural divides in the United States.
When asked about the mass murder today, Trump gave an absolutely disgusting response by claiming that white nationalism is not a rising problem. In reality, it’s an indisputable fact that hate crimes in America have increased in number since he ascended to the Oval Office. Trump himself has emboldened these monsters with his constant dog whistles, overt racist language, and xenophobic fearmongering.
To make things worse, he has a vested interest in ignoring the rise of white supremacist violence because a lot of the people who perpetrate it vote for him. He can’t be expected to honestly confront the problem, and every time he does he equivocates or lies. This is, after all, the man who said there were some very fine people on both sides of the Neo-Nazi rally and counter-rally in Charlottesville.
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Asked if he thinks white nationalism is a rising threat, Trump says, "I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems."
Trump goes on to say he thinks it's too early to draw conclusions about what motivated New Zealand mosque shooter. pic.twitter.com/maTx55ruCb
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 15, 2019
Now, the Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern has addressed Trump’s comments. When asked whether she agreed with his assessment that white nationalism is a worsening global problem she replied with a simple but firm “no” before quickly moving on. Clearly, she doesn’t take him or his comments seriously.
Asked whether she agrees with Pres. Trump's comment that he doesn't see white nationalism as a rising global threat, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says, "No." https://t.co/0AXjwFQSUP pic.twitter.com/Z2SqDbYO9C
— ABC News (@ABC) March 15, 2019
The United States is weaker for its lack of a leader with the courage and desire to combat white nationalism. Trump alternates between being apathetic towards it, to actively stoking it. The rest of the world sees it and thinks of him accordingly. Ardern should be commended for refusing to entertain his dangerous lies.