News & Politics

Mulvaney: Allegation that Trump Incited Christchurch Attack 'Absurd'

Mulvaney: Allegation that Trump Incited Christchurch Attack 'Absurd'
Ambulance staff take a man from outside a mosque in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney pushed back against charges that the president’s anti-immigration rhetoric contributed in some way to the terrorist attack in New Zealand that killed 49 people who were praying in mosques.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Mulvaney dismissed the notion that Trump is a white supremacist.


“The president is not a white supremacist,” Mulvaney said in an interview that aired on “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.”

“Let’s take what happened in New Zealand yesterday for what it is: a terrible evil tragic act.”

New Zealand police have charged 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant in Friday’s mass shooting, which killed 50 people. The accused gunman sent a lengthy manifesto filled with anti-immigrant rhetoric to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern minutes before the attack.

Critics have knocked Trump for not condemning white nationalism strongly enough and suggested the president’s inflammatory rhetoric contributes to violence.

Mulvaney called out Trump’s critics who politicize everything:

“To … ask the question every time something like this happens overseas, or even domestically to say, ‘Oh my goodness, it must somehow be the president’s fault,’ speaks to a politicization of everything that I think is undermining sort of the institutions that we have in the country today,” he said.

Is Trump is the only anti-immigrant politician in the world? Indeed, there is strong evidence that it was an anti-immigration figure in France who inspired the New Zealand shooter.

Foreign Policy:

When white nationalists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017 chanting “they will not replace us” and “the Jews will not replace us,” few of the assembled extremists knew where those slogans came from. By contrast, Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian accused of shooting dead 49 worshipers at two mosques and wounding dozens more in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Friday, was more explicit when it came to his intellectual inspirations. In the 74-page manifesto he posted before the rampage, he praises the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik and draws on his work while noting his admiration for the interwar British fascist leader Oswald Mosley. But French ideas figure most prominently in Tarrant’s thinking.

He cites watching “invaders” at a shopping mall during a visit to an eastern French town as the moment of epiphany when he realized he would resort to violence. His manifesto appears to draw on the work of the French anti-immigration writer Renaud Camus, including plagiarizing the title of his book Le grand remplacement (“The Great Replacement”)—a phrase that has become commonplace in European immigration debates and a favorite of far-right politicians across Europe, including the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders and a group of younger far-right activists who call themselves “identitarians.” Tarrant writes of initially dismissing stories of an invasion of France by nonwhites that he had encountered while still at home, but, once in France, he adds: “I found my emotions swinging between fuming rage and suffocating despair at the indignity of the invasion of France, the pessimism of the french [sic] people, the loss of culture and identity and the farce of the political solutions offered.”

But blaming Trump is so much more politically profitable and makes his opponents feel all warm and fuzzy. Muslims get to play the victim. Liberals get to skewer the president. And the media gets to stick it to someone they hate.

Why does some right-wing nut have to be inspired or enabled or influenced by anyone? Can’t he just be a run-of-the-mill hater whose internal logic center has gone on the fritz, allowing him to justify the murder of 50 people to himself? I know that’s a revolutionary idea, but I usually follow Occam’s razor. What’s more likely? That the president of the United States inspires mass murder? Or that some loony tunes white supremacist took it upon himself to address what he saw as a problem?

So Trump possesses superhuman abilities to hypnotize people into carrying out mass murder? I’m with Mulvaney; it’s absurd.