Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused President Donald Trump of signaling to white supremacists that he would “look the other way” as they commit acts of violence.
After the New Zealand mosque shootings by an self-described white supremacist, a reporter asked Trump if he saw white nationalism as a rising threat around the world.
“I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” Trump replied, before saying he did not at that time know much about the details of the New Zealand attack but that it was “certainly a terrible thing.”
Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, tweeted that Trump’s comments were a “deliberate” message to white supremacists.
“White supremacists committed the largest # of extremist killings in 2017,” she wrote, quote tweeting the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization whose focus is civil rights and public interest litigation.
“What the President is saying here: ‘if you engage in violent acts of white supremacy, I will look the other way.’ Understand that this is deliberate. This is why we can’t afford to sit on the sidelines.”
Last Friday, Brenton Tarrant, 28, is alleged to have entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and shot dead 50 people, injuring dozens more, in a white supremacist terror attack against Muslims.
Tarrant, who wrote and published a hate-filled manifesto online, streamed the massacre live on social media. The Australian citizen is now in custody awaiting trial in New Zealand, whose government is preparing to introduce much stricter gun controls in response to the deadly terror attack.