This post about white nationalism has been deleted by Chicago Suntimes
President Donald Trump played down any threat posed by white nationalism after the gunman accused of the New Zealand mosque massacre called the president “a symbol of renewed white identity.”
Trump, whose previous responses to the movement have drawn scrutiny, expressed sympathy for the victims who died at “places of worship turned into scenes of evil killing.”
But he declined to join expressions of concern about white nationalism. Asked whether he thought it is a rising threat around the world, he said, “I don’t, really.”
The man accused of the shootings, Brenton Tarrant, left behind a lengthy document that outlined his motivations. He stated that he was a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants and was set off by attacks in Europe that were perpetrated by Muslims.
In a single reference, he mentioned the U.S. president. “Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?” was one of the questions he posed to himself. His answer: “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.”
The White House denounced the connection. But the mention from the suspect, who embraced Nazi imagery and voiced support for fascism, nonetheless cast an uncomfortable light on the way that the president has been embraced by some on the far right.
Trump, who as a candidate proposed a ban on all Muslims entering the United States, has drawn criticism as being slow to condemn white supremacy and related violence. After a 2017 clash between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, left one demonstrator dead, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the confrontation. He also did not immediately reject the support of David Duke, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, during his presidential campaign.