Washington Post condemns Trump rhetoric after New Zealand shooting

Washington Post condemns Trump rhetoric after New Zealand shooting
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The Washington Post's editorial board condemned President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE's rhetoric on Friday following a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques earlier that day.

The Post's editorial board said it did not blame Trump for the massacre, but said the suspected shooter's "nativist rhetoric" was akin to Trump's. 

"Trump is not to blame for the tragedy, despite his own history of Islamophobic statements and a travel ban that targets predominantly Muslim nations," the Post editorial board wrote Friday.

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"Still, he should go further than he has; for starters, by condemning the alleged killer, whose nativist rhetoric — he called immigrants 'invaders,' attacked 'mass immigration' and wrote that he hoped to 'directly reduce immigration rates' — overlaps with the president’s own," the board added.

The board cited Trump's remarks Friday referring to an "invasion" of immigrants to justify his decision to declare a national emergency in order to secure funds for his proposed U.S.–Mexico border wall.

The Post's board called on Trump to reject the suspected shooter's reported anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views, urging him to recognize white nationalism as a problem. 

"Trump, who could not bring himself to criticize the white nationalists in Charlottesville who chanted that minorities (Jews, in that case) would 'not replace us,' on Friday said he doesn’t regard white nationalism as a problem," they wrote. "That’s the wrong message. Instead, he ought to state unambiguously that the New Zealand suspect’s 'replacement' ideology is an unacceptable trope in civilized discourse."

Trump, on Friday, said he doesn’t see a rise in white nationalism, telling reporters in the Oval Office, “I don't really, I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

The suspected shooter wrote in a manifesto posted online before the shooting that he supported Trump "as a symbol of renewed white identity."

Trump condemned the Friday attack as a "horrible massacre" and offered U.S. aid to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques," he tweeted."49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!"

A leader Muslim-American group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) similarly called on Trump to denounce the suspected shooter's ideology Friday.  

"During your presidency and during your election campaign, Islamophobia took a sharp rise and attacks on innocent Muslims, innocent immigrants and mosques have skyrocketed," CAIR national executive director Nihad Awad said during a press conference.

"We hold you responsible for this growing anti-Muslim sentiment in the country and in Europe, but also we do not excuse those terrorist attackers against minorities at home and abroad," he added.

Friday's massacre has drawn heightened scrutiny toward political leaders' rhetoric, including Trump, who some have accused of empowering extremist views and stoking Islamophobia.