New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she told President Trump that the U.S. should offer Muslim communities “sympathy and love” after at least 49 people were killed in Christchurch mosque shootings Friday.
Ardern said she gave Trump the advice on Friday after he asked what the U.S. could do to help New Zealand after a 28-year-old Australian gunman opened fire on Muslim worshippers, killing at least 49 people at two Christchurch mosques, according to The Guardian.
Trump said on Twitter that he spoke with Ardern after the massacre, but did not mention her comment.
“Just spoke with Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, regarding the horrific events that have taken place over the past 24 hours. I informed the Prime Minister that we stand in solidarity with New Zealand – and that any assistance the U.S.A. can give, we stand by ready to help. We love you New Zealand!” the president tweeted.
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump called for a total ban on Muslim immigration into the U.S.
In March of 2016, Trump said on CNN: “I think Islam hates us. There’s something there that — there’s a tremendous hatred there. There’s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it. There’s an unbelievable hatred of us.”
A few days later, after three suicide bombings in Brussels tied to a group of French and Belgian Muslims, Trump told Fox Business: “We’re having problems with the Muslims, and we’re having problems with Muslims coming into the country.”
On Friday, a top official of a prominent Muslim-American group said that Trump bears some responsibility for rising Islamophobia.
CNN’s John Berman on Friday 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.”
A short time after Berman’s on-air critcism of the 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.