WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump on Monday complained that he is being blamed by journalists for the massacre of 50 people in attacks on two mosques in New Zealand.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand,” Trump told his more than 59 million followers on Twitter.
“They will have to work very hard to prove that one,” he tweeted. “So Ridiculous!”
Trump appeared to be referring to criticism of his response to the attack, which was allegedly carried out by a 28-year-old white supremacist claiming to be resisting genocide against white people.
In a lengthy written rant, the alleged killer had referred to Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity.”
Trump did on several occasions tweet and speak to condemn the “horrible” attack and offer any US assistance to New Zealand’s authorities.
However, he courted controversy Friday when he played down the wider implications of the gunman’s ideology, saying that violent white nationalism is not a growing problem.
“It’s a small group of people,” he said.
This led to a flurry of criticism from Democrats who said he was sending mixed signals when he should be more clearly standing up against what many independent experts say is the mounting problem of white nationalists targeting Muslims, Jews, immigrants and other minorities.