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NYT: America deserves a leader as good as New Zealand's prime minister

The New York Times editorial board is praising New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for her response to a mass shooting in her country, which killed 50 worshippers at two mosques.

In an op-ed titled "America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern," the board highlighted her swift action in signing a ban on all military-style semiautomatic and automatic weapons and for calling on social media companies to curtail hate speech that spreads on their platforms. 

"That attitude stood in stark contrast to the way the National Rifle Association and its political allies in the United States have resisted any restrictions on weapons like the AR-15, the semiautomatic rifle used in several mass killings," the editorial board wrote.

"In New Zealand, it took one mass shooting to awaken the government. In the United States, even a string of mass killings - 26 dead in a school in Newtown, Conn.; 49 in a nightclub in Orlando; 58 at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 in a school in Parkland, Fla. - has not been enough. Nor has the fact that 73 percent of Americans say that more needs to be done to curb gun violence, according to recent polling." 

It also highlighted Ardern's powerful messages to victims' families and Muslims across New Zealand. The prime minister vowed that she will fight against racism in the country.

"In lieu of trite messages, she donned a black head scarf and led a group of politicians to visit victims' families; speaking without a script to a school some of the victims attended, she urged the pupils to 'let New Zealand be a place where there is no tolerance for racism. Ever.' She told grieving families, 'We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage,' " the editorial board wrote.

"After this and any such atrocity, the world's leaders should unite in clearly condemning racism, sharing in the grief of the victims and stripping the haters of their weapons. Ms. Ardern has shown the way."

The shooting, reportedly carried out by a white supremacist from Australia, has revived the debate over U.S. gun laws and over remarks President Trump made after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017, when he said there were "very fine people on both sides."

The suspected gunman in a manifesto said he supported Trump as a "symbol of renewed white identity."

The president's critics have accused him of stoking white nationalist sentiment, a claim the White House denies.

Trump on Monday blasted the media, saying they were trying to blame him for the New Zealand shooting.

"The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand," Trump tweeted. "They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!"

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