The immigrant-bashing white supremacist suspected of killing dozens of Muslims at a mosque in New Zealand released a disturbing manifesto before the Friday massacre praising President Trump as an inspiration for his hate.
The suspect, who has been identified as 28-year-old Australian citizen Brenton Tarrant, released the since-deleted screed before storming into the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch during afternoon prayer local time and killing at least 41 people. Another eight people were killed in a separate attack at a nearby mosque minutes later.
The 74-page document shouted out right-wing extremists like South Carolina church shooter Dylann Roof and Norwegian neo-Nazi Anders Breivik, lauding them for attempting to provoke race wars in their home countries.
The hateful manifesto also lists Trump as a source of partial kinship.
“As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure,” the suspect wrote. “As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no.”
In the wake of the horrendous attacks, Trump didn’t explicitly condemn racism despite his name being referenced by the suspect.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques,” Trump tweeted as the death toll from the attacks began to surface. “49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
The failure to fault white supremacy for the mosque massacres was reminiscent of Trump’s reluctance to unambiguously condemn racism in the wake of the deadly August 2017 far-right rally in Charlottesville, Va.
A White House spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on why Trump didn’t call out hate in his social media post.
New York City leaders were disturbed that the President’s rhetoric sowed seeds of hatred on the other side of the world.
“It’s disappointing when I heard the gunman may have been inspired, if I can use that word, about what he saw in this country,” Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said at a rally with religious leaders outside the Makki Masjid Community Center in Brooklyn, adding he finds it despicable that the U.S. is “exporting white supremacy, and exporting the weaponizing of hatred.”
Following the Charlottesville violence in 2017, Trump pointed fingers at “both sides” instead of condemning the white supremacists who converged on the small college town to protest the removal of a Confederate statute.
“The press has treated them absolutely unfairly,” Trump said of rally attendants at the time, speaking from the lobby of his gold-plated Manhattan skyscraper. “You also had some very fine people on both sides.”
A 32-year-old anti-fascist protester was killed in the Charlottesville protests by a self-described neo-Nazi.
In his Friday tweet, Trump also fell short of calling the New Zealand tragedies terror attacks, putting him at odds with most world leaders.
“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at a press conference after the attack.
When suspected attackers are Muslim, Trump has by contrast been quick to call out terrorism.
“A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris,” Trump tweeted within hours of an attack at the historic museum in February 2017. “Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.”
Additionally, Trump has used his presidency to push policies that critics call overtly Islamophobic, including a travel ban barring people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
American Muslims were disappointed in Trump’s halfhearted response following the New Zealand attacks.