Washington DC [USA]: US President Donald Trump on Monday accused American media organisations of blaming him for last week’s twin terror attacks in New Zealand, calling it “ridiculous”.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand. They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!” Trump tweeted. The US President’s comments came after some American media coverage had been focusing on the terrorist’s manifesto, which called Trump a “symbol of renewed white identity.” The White House has rejected claims that Trump backed white nationalist views.
“The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said on “Fox News Sunday.” Earlier, a social media account believed to be linked to Brenton Tarrant, the 28-year-old Australian-born terrorist had posted a lengthy manifesto, expressing anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim views.
He wrote that he supported Trump “as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” but not as a “policymaker and leader.” On March 16, Trump said that he did not see a rise in white nationalism across the world after the terrorist had called the US President “a symbol of renewed white identity.” “I don’t really think so. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” The Hill quoted Trump as saying when asked if he saw a rise in white nationalism. “If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet,” he added.
New Zealand is currently on a state of high alert after Tarrant, who is believed to have lived in Dunedin, killed 50 people in the Al Noor and the Linwood mosques in Christchurch on March 15, police said. Tarrant live-streamed his gruesome act on Facebook for 17 minutes and police believe that the accused had single-handedly carried out the terror attack at both the mosques under a span of 36 minutes during the Friday prayers for which a large number of worshippers had congregated. Using automatic weapons, the 28-year-old terrorist launched a “well-planned” attack on the mosques when devotees had assembled for the weekly prayers, following which mosques across the country were advised to shut down.
Tarrant, who appeared before a Christchurch court on murder charges, was remanded in custody without plea until April 5. Condemning the terror strikes, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had described the attack as “one of New Zealand’s darkest days” and said it “appears to have been well planned”. She asserted that the country “will not and cannot be shaken” by the attack. Ardern underlined that the country’s gun laws will undergo changes and become stricter.