President Trump said on Friday rejected the fact that white nationalism is on the rise globally less than 24 hours after the suspected gunman behind a deadly gun attack that killed at least 49 people at two mosques in New Zealand was discovered to have said he viewed Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity” but not as a “policy maker and leader.”
“Do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world?” a White House reporter asked the president in the Oval Office.
“I don’t really, I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” Trump told the reporter.
“I guess if you look what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. They’re just learning about the person.”
He called the shooting a “horrible, horrible thing.”
Trump dismissed White Nationalism as a growing threat today.
FACT CHECK: Every single American killed by extremists in 2018 was murdered by a white supremacist or far right extremist. Every. One.pic.twitter.com/vH9o5tX0Ln
— Mrs. Betty Bowers (@BettyBowers) March 15, 2019
Murders by white supremacists in the United State doubled the same year President Trump took office in 2017.
White supremacists in the U.S. killed more than twice as many people in 2017 as they did the year before, and were responsible for far more murders than domestic Islamic extremists, helping make 2017 the fifth deadliest year on record for extremist violence in America, according to a report published in 2018 by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism.
The report, “Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2017,” said that extremists killed 34 people last year.
According to the HuffPost:
Twenty of those victims (or 59 percent) were killed by right-wing extremists, a designation that includes white supremacists, members of the so-called “alt-right” and “alt-lite,” and members of the anti-government militia movement
Of the 34 people killed, 18 were murdered by white supremacists, marking a 157 percent increase over the 7 people killed by white supremacists in 2016.
That’s also double the number of people killed by domestic Islamic extremists in 2017. Nine people were killed by domestic Islamic extremists last year, according to the report, eight of whom died in a single attack in New York.
Individuals linked to right-wing extremist movements committed every single extremist-related murder in the United States in 2018, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s 2018 annual report released earlier this year.
Right-wing extremists killed 50 people last year, mostly with firearms, making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995, according to the ADL’s data.
“The white supremacist attack in Pittsburgh should serve as a wake-up call to everyone about the deadly consequences of hateful rhetoric,” ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said in a statement accompanying the report’s release. “It’s time for our nation’s leaders to appropriately recognize the severity of the threat and to devote the necessary resources to address the scourge of right-wing extremism.”
A 28-year-old suspect from Australia has been charged with murder in connection with the mosque attacks. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the shooting as having been carried out by suspects with “extremist views.”
A social media account believed to be linked to the gunman posted a lengthy manifesto expressing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views shortly before the attack.