The suspected gunman behind two deadly New Zealand mosque shootings reportedly wrote in a 74-page manifesto that he supported President Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” according to The Washington Post.
In the manifesto, the suspect asks himself, “Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?”
He responds: “As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.”
#BREAKING: In manifesto, Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shooting suspect said he supported U.S. President Donald Trump "as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose," but not as a policymaker. pic.twitter.com/RHW2SwzjXs
— Matthew Keys (@MatthewKeysLive) March 15, 2019
Trump was widely criticized late last night after tweeting a link to the main page of Breitbart, a website renowned for its hardline anti-Muslim and anti-immigration coverage, which he posted just as the New Zealand mosque shootings were unfolding, reports Business Insider.
In the now-deleted tweet late Thursday, Trump linked to the homepage of the site without comment at around 11 p.m. East Coast time, roughly an hour after news outlets, including Breitbart, had been reporting on the mosque shootings.
Wow. Trump has deleted his Breitbart tweet after the New Zealand massacre. But screenshots are forever. https://t.co/WG7GUALlnn
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) March 15, 2019
The shooting, which left at least 49 people dead and 20 seriously injured, was live-streamed on Facebook by the 28-year-old suspected gunman. Three other people have also been arrested, reports NBC News. The suspect also reportedly said he was inspired by Dylann Roof, who killed nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church in 2015 in a racially motivated attack.
The president early on Friday tweeted an official message of condolence to the victims of the attack, writing “My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
Earlier in the week, Breitbart published an interview with Trump in which he issued an ominous warning to Democrats that his supporters are “tough people” that will not play it tough until they are provoked and pushed “to a certain point.”
“It’s so terrible what’s happening,” Trump told the far-right news outlet.
“You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny,” he said. “I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?”
He continued: “I can tell you, I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher.”
Trump’s critics accused him of fomenting violence by his backers.
“I think it sounds very much to me like he’s encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal such as assaulting people, you know behave in a dangerous way,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, speaking on MSNBC. “That sounds like a threat to me. I think it’s appalling.”