Trump escalates Omar controversy
Kaine says Trump is 'using language that emboldens' white nationalists
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Sunday that President Trump is not creating white nationalists, but that his language "emboldens them" in the wake of shootings at two mosques in New Zealand that left dozens dead.
Kaine said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that white nationalism is a growing issue, and that Trump has not done enough to call it out.
"When you see church shootings in Charleston, a synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, you see this hate-filled manifesto of the shooter in New Zealand who is murdering Muslims, we have to confront the fact that there is a rise in white supremacy, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim attitudes," Kaine said.
"The president uses language often that's very similar to the language used by these bigots and racists, and if he's not going to call it out then other leaders have to do more to call it out," he added.
Authorities in New Zealand said Saturday that the death toll from the shootings at two mosques rose to 50 people. The 28-year-old Australian man charged in connection with the shooting killed 41 people at one mosque and seven at another. Two died after being hospitalized, police said.
Trump has called the shooting "senseless" and "horrific" and offered support to New Zealand. Asked on Friday if he believes white nationalism is a growing threat, the president described it as a "small group of people that have very, very serious problems."
Kaine said Sunday that Trump is "not creating" white nationalists, but that he "is using language that emboldens them."
The Virginia Democrat noted that shortly after Trump offered his support to New Zealand in the aftermath of the shooting, he vetoed a measure to block his national emergency declaration at the southern border, citing an "invasion" of criminals and drugs.
"That kind of language from the person who probably has the loudest microphone on the planet earth is hurtful and dangerous and it tends to incite violence," Kaine said.
White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday rejected any suggestion that Trump's presidency is a cause of a rise in white nationalism, or any effort to connect the New Zealand massacre to his rhetoric.
"Let's take what happened in New Zealand yesterday for what it is," Mulvaney said on "Fox News Sunday." "A terrible, evil, tragic act, and figure out why those things are becoming more prevalent in the world. Is it Donald Trump? Absolutely not."