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March 17, 2019

Trump avoids calling mosque attack terrorism

Top Story

March 17, 2019

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Saturday called Christchurch mosque attack “a terrible thing” but stopped short of calling it a terrorist attack.

CNN top anchor Anderson Cooper on Saturday interviewed US President Donald Trump in the backdrop of New Zealand terrorist attack.

When asked whether he sees white nationalism as a rising threat around the world, President Trump said that: “I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.

“I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. They're just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, terrible thing.” The anchor commented that: “A terrible thing, he called it, but not something that he knows enough about yet. That's what he said earlier this afternoon.

“Now, it's rare that the president decides not to speak out against or for something, because he doesn't know enough about it. As a candidate, he didn't wait for investigators to weigh in before labeling the shooting of 14 people in the San Bernardino, California, terrorist attack. He called it, I'm quoting, radical Islamic terrorism. Then referring to the suspects he added, quote, I mean, you look at the names, you look at what's happened, you tell me. A short time later he called for a ban on Muslims entering the country. So there's that.

“And earlier today, senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp said falsely the president made it very clear that this was a terrorist attack, which he had not, not at that point. He only did that after receiving criticism, questions about it, finally calling it, quote, monstrous terror attacks during his remarks this afternoon. “Schlapp also said the president has repeatedly condemned bigotry and racism, which is only true when he's not also saying, as he did at the white supremacist chanting "Jews will not replace us" in Charlottesville that there were fine people among them.”

According to the most recent figures from the FBI, hate crimes in the US rose 17 percent in 2017 compared to the year before. And newly released data from the Anti-Defamation League shows white supremacist propaganda efforts in neighborhoods and on campus increased 182 percent in this country last year.

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