Donald Trump was extremely careful Friday not to offend his “very fine” white nationalist base around the globe after one of them slaughtered 49 people in two New Zealand mosques. Trump sent New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern his “warmest sympathy and best wishes,” lamented that innocent people “senselessly died,” and mourned the “horrific events.”
This all might seem normal except that the white nationalist responsible for the massacre had invoked Trump by name as “a symbol of white identity and common purpose” and left behind a manifesto riddled with racial slurs, like calling immigration “white genocide.” Still, Trump found no harsh words for the murderous ideology behind the New Zealand tragedy. Given the chance to denounce white nationalism at a Friday press conference, Trump shrugged it off as a few bad apples.
That’s how badly Trump needs attention and praise: He can’t even bring himself to speak out against a hateful doctrine that leads someone to unleash an unthinkable spree that took the lives of 49 innocent people practicing their religion.
The strongest statement against the massacre the White House could muster is one we can’t even verify happened: a top White House aide claiming Trump called the shooting an “act of terror.” In contrast, New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern was very clear, calling the attack the work of an “extremist right-wing violent terrorist.”
Trump’s reaction to the white nationalist-inspired slaughter has been notably different than all the tirades he’s launched in the wake of attacks perpetrated by Muslims. Below is a sampling.