Chris Wallace presses Mulvaney: Why doesn't Trump give a speech denouncing 'anti-Muslim bigotry'?

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Sunday pressed acting White House chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyTrump frustrated with aides who talked to Mueller The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE on why President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE has not considered giving a speech condemning "anti-Muslim bigotry."

"I understand, and I very much agree that the president is not responsible for this action," Wallace said on "Fox News Sunday" while talking with Mulvaney about the shootings at two New Zealand mosques on Friday that left dozens dead. 

"But has he considered, given the fact that some people seem to feel that he has given them cover, has he considered giving a major speech condemning anti-Muslim, white supremacist bigotry?"

ADVERTISEMENT

Wallace asked the question after playing multiple tapes that included Trump's comments about immigration and Muslims. In one tape from 2016, Trump said, "I think Islam hates us." In another from Friday, Trump called an influx of immigration an "invasion."

Mulvaney initially dismissed the question, saying the scrutiny Trump has received in light of the terrorist attack has been undeserved. 

"There’s folks who just don’t like the president, and everything that goes wrong, they’re going to look for a way to tie that to the president," Mulvaney said, adding that it was "absurd" to link the suspected shooter's manifesto, in which he called Trump "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose," to Trump's language. 

But Wallace continued to press, asking why Trump hasn't thought about giving a speech denouncing "white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Muslim bigotry" given the attention these issues have received. 

"You’ve seen the president stand up for religious liberties, individual liberties. The president is not a white supremacist," Mulvaney replied. "I’m not sure how many times we have to say that."

Wallace noted later that Trump "speaks out about a lot of things" before asking why he doesn't deliver a speech making "it clear that there is no place in America for this kind of hatred."

"I think you saw that yesterday in the tweet," Mulvaney responded. "I’m not sure what more you want the president to do. You may say you want to give him a national speech to address the nation. That’s fine. Maybe we do that. Maybe we don’t."

The exchange came just days after an alleged gunman opened fire in a pair of mosques in New Zealand, killing 50 people and injuring many others.  The Australian man charged in connection with the shooting killed 41 people at one mosque and seven at another. Two others died after being hospitalized. 

Trump has called the shooting "senseless" and "horrific." He later said that white nationalism is limited to "a small group of people that have very, very serious problems."