- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2019

President Trump on Friday denied white nationalists pose a growing risk, addressing concerns less than 24 hours after a self-proclaimed racist was arrested for the murders of 49 people at two New Zealand mosques.

At a veto-signing ceremony at the White House, Mr. Trump was asked whether he believes white nationalism is a growing threat.

“I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” Mr. Trump responded. “I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. They’re just learning about the person and the people involved.”

New Zealand authorities earlier Friday arrested a 28-year-old Australian man suspected of slaying dozens of Muslims at a mosque in Christchurch during afternoon prayer. The suspect has since been linked to a manifesto uploaded to the internet prior to the massacre rife with white nationalist ideologies.

An excerpt from the manifesto praised Mr. Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”

Mr. Trump said during the signing ceremony that he has not seen the manifesto.

White supremacists “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,” the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said in a joint intelligence bulletin issued in May 2017.

Titled “White Supremacist Extremism Poses Persistent Threat of Lethal Violence,” the bulletin was issued by the Trump administration roughly three months before a white nationalist event in Charlottesville, Virginia, led to violent clashes between participants and counterprotesters that culminated in three deaths and dozens of injuries.

Mr. Trump said days afterward that “both sides” were to blame for the violence in Charlottesville. More recently, Michael Cohen, Mr. Trump’s former personal attorney, testified earlier this month that the comment was a catalyst in his decision to ultimately part ways with the president.

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