President Donald Trump on Friday downplayed the global threat of white nationalism, as other world leaders condemned far-right extremism and racism in the wake of a devastating mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand that left at least 49 people dead.

“I don’t really,” Trump said in the Oval Office when asked if he saw white nationalism as a rising threat around the world, according to a pool report. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess. If you look what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet…But it’s certainly a terrible thing.”

Shortly thereafter, at a press conference Saturday morning, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she spoke with Trump over the phone about the attack. “He very much wished for his condolences to be passed on to New Zealand,” she said. “He asked what offer of support the United States could provide. My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.”

“He acknowledged that and agreed,” she said.

Ardern said she did not discuss a reference to Trump that was included in the suspected gunman’s manifesto, which included anti-immigrant, white-supremacist rhetoric. A 28-year-old Australian citizen has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting.

“That was not discussed. He only conveyed his absolute horror and disdain for what had occurred here,” Ardern said. Asked if she agreed that white supremacy was “not really” a threat, Ardern said, “no.”

Trump has repeatedly faced criticism for failing to condemn white supremacy. In 2016, during his campaign for president, he initially refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan or disavow an endorsement from former Klansman David Duke. In 2017, Trump said “both sides” were to blame after a neo-Nazi at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville drove his car into a group of counter protests and killed a woman. In remarks that were widely condemned, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides.”

But studies show that far-right extremism and white nationalism are becoming bigger problems around the world.

“Terrorism from far-right extremism in Europe has been on the rise since 2000, as groups and networks have radicalized because of such issues as refugees and asylum-seekers from Syria and other countries,” said a 2018 report by the Center for Strategic …read more

Source:: Time – Politics

      

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Trump Says He Doesn’t See White Nationalism as a Rising Global Threat After New Zealand Shooting

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