President Donald Trump has declined to say whether white supremacist thought influenced the Christchurch terror attacks.
When asked shortly after the attacks if he sees white nationalism “as a rising threat around the world,” Trump responded, “I don’t really.”
Reporter: "Do you see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?"
Trump: "I don't really."
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) March 15, 2019
Trump’s response is a far cry from that of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who named the threat for what it was in her remarks to legislators.
“He sought many things from his act of terror but one was notoriety, that is why you will never hear me mention his name… He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist. But he will, when I speak, be nameless,” she said in the days following the attacks. “And to others, I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety but we, in New Zealand, will give nothing—not even his name.”
The Prime Minister of New Zealand continues,
"And to others, I implore you: Speak the names of those who were lost rather than the name of the man who took them. He may have sought notoriety but we, in New Zealand, will give nothing—not even his name.”pic.twitter.com/kej5GqapZo
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) March 19, 2019
In a tweet last month, Trump claimed that the “Fake News Media is working overtime” to blame him for the Christchurch attacks.
The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand. They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2019
In a 74-page document, the white supremacist who perpetrated the attacks said he supports Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”