WASHINGTON (AP) – A senior White House official said Sunday that President Donald Trump "is not a white supremacist" and that it is "absurd" to link him to the alleged shooter of the New Zealand mosque.
Mick Mulvaney, the interim chief of staff, described the New Zealand gunman as a "disturbed individual" and a "perverse person" and said that it was unfair to qualify the man. Donald Trump's 28-year-old Australian "supporter is watching his eco-terrorist excerpts in this manifesto and aligning him with Nancy Pelosi or Ms. Ocasio-Cortez."
Pelosi, a California Democrat, is the Speaker of the House. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Is a freshman and the lead proponent of a plan, dubbed Green New Deal, aimed at tackling climate change.
"It was a disturbed individual, a perverse person, and trying to link him to an American politician from either party is probably unaware of some of the deeper difficulties that this kind of activity exposes," he said. Mulvaney.
Nevertheless, Mulvaney's defense of Trump failed to silence the calls, mainly from the Democrats, to the president to strongly denounce white nationalism. They argue that Trump's rhetoric, including harsh commentary on immigrants and Muslims, encourages individuals like the New Zealand shooter.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, the man accused of shooting at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, left a long document stating that he was a white nationalist, hating immigrants and motivated by attacks perpetrated by Muslims in Europe.
"Were you / are you a supporter of Donald Trump?" Was one of the questions that he was asking in the document. His answer: "As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a decision maker and leader? Dear god no.
The attacks left 50 dead and 34 wounded, including about 10 in critical condition.
Mulvaney said Trump was an advocate for religious minorities around the world and that his actions were more eloquent than his words.
"Look what we did while we were here," he said. "I do not think anyone can say that the president is anti-Muslim." Mulvaney added that this frustrates him personally: "Whenever something goes wrong in the world, not just in our country, the President of the States United States must be responsible. And that's right, it's absurd and it does not help to contribute to the dialogue needed to solve these problems. "
Before Mulvaney appeared in Sunday's television debates, Trump tweeted to defend Fox News weekend host Jeanine Pirro, whose show was not aired at the usual Saturday hour. Fox gave no explanation, but Pirro's absence from the training followed the anti-Muslim comments she made last week against the representative Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., One of the three Muslims of the country. Congress, which wore a headdress known as the hijab. Trump tweeted "Take @JudgeJeanine Pirro."
Mulvaney also spoke of North Korea's threat to reconsider its halt to nuclear and ballistic missile testing, saying such a move would be a "very disappointing turning point". Kim Jong Un.
The chief of staff also said he was confident that Trump's veto on a measure blocking his national emergency declaration on the US-Mexico border – in order to build a border wall – will be maintained when the House votes more late this month to replace the president.
"It's out of luck," Mulvaney said of the vote scheduled for March 26.
When asked last week whether he saw white nationalism as a growing global threat, Trump said:
He went on to describe the movement as "a small group of people with very, very serious problems" and said, "I suppose if you look at what happened in New Zealand, it might be to be a case, I do not know enough about it yet. "
Senator Tim Kaine, D-Va., Did not share this view, saying that white nationalism is on the rise "and that the president should recall it, but unfortunately he does not."
As a candidate, Trump proposed to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. As president, he has been criticized for attempting to introduce a travel ban and for his slowness in condemning white supremacy and the violence associated with it. After a violent confrontation between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, which left a protester dead, Trump said there were "very good people on both sides" in the confrontation.
Trump also did not immediately reject the support of David Duke, a former grand magician of KKK, during his presidential campaign.
Representative Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Also a Muslim, said Trump should call the Justice Department for information on the rise of white supremacy in the United States.
"He from the oval office, from this position of power, can send a very loud and clear signal," she said.
Mulvaney appeared in CBS's Fox News Sunday and Face the Nation. Kaine and Tlaib talked about "The State of the Union" on CNN.