During a CNN segment covering the New Zealand mosque shootings that killed at least 49 people, CNN’s John Berman noted that the alleged 28-year-old Australian shooter praised President Trump as a “symbol of white identity and common purpose” in his 74-page manifesto.
“Why do you think there are people — self-proclaimed white supremacists around the world — who see our president in this way?” Berman asked his guest, former Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Juliette Kayyem.
“I think what they do is, they are given credence, and I’m being careful here, validity, justification for their horrible violent thoughts because it’s amplified in the public space, either by our president or reporters or analysts on TV or in literature,” Kayyem said. “The president is not responsible for what happened in New Zealand… but the president’s language to date has been irresponsible.”
Berman then noted the striking parallels between the rhetoric and specific language used by the president and that used by white nationalists.
“I don’t want to dance around it,” he said. “This killer is using the language of ‘invasion.’ I have seen ‘invasion’ in ads produced by the president of the United States’ campaign. So what do white supremacists hear… when the president of the United States uses words like ‘invasion?’… Look, the Pittsburgh killer talked about invaders, this killer talked about invaders. The killer in New Zealand talked about ‘replacement,’ the people in Charlottesville were saying, ‘Jews will not replace us.’ There is something happening here, there is some commonality here, where if it’s ignored, more people will die.”
Just a short time after the segment aired, President Trump addressed the deadly mosque attack in the Oval Office, calling it a “horrible, horrible thing.”
The president followed his remarks by addressing his so-called “national emergency” at the southern border where he again used the word “invasion” to refer to the groups of refugees seeking asylum at the U.S. southern border.
“People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is,” Trump told reporters. “It’s an invasion of drugs, and criminals, and people. We have no idea who they are.
TRUMP echoes white supremacist rhetoric: "Congress' vote to deny the crisis on the southern border is a vote against reality…People hate the word 'invasion,' but that's what it is. It's an invasion of drugs, criminals, & people…in some cases, they are killers." pic.twitter.com/nupFMpmHQZ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 15, 2019