White House counselor Kellyanne Conway appeared on Fox & Friends Monday morning to inform Americans that despite referring to President Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity,” the New Zealand mosque shooter did not point to Trump as one of his inspirations for mowing down Muslim worshippers as they prayed last week.
Conway said “people should read the entire” 74-page manifesto the alleged gunman penned in order to discover his true inspiration for the massacre, which she noted included Norwegian mass shooter Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in a terrorist attack in 2011.
“This president condemns hate, evil and bigotry,” Conway said in defense of Trump. “And we will continue to do so.”
She said the news media “scoured” the manifesto looking for Trump’s name and found one instance where he was referenced. Conway pointed to the suspected shooter’s statements that he “also aligns closely with the ideology of China” and that “he said he’s not a conservative” as evidence that Trump did not inspire the attack.
“People should read [the manifesto] in its entirety,” Conway said.
Numerous pundits and politicians — as well as commenters on social media — have noted that the president’s rhetoric appears at times to sympathize with white nationalist views, despite the occasions he or his administration has condemned far-right extremism.
The first Muslim elected to Congress, former Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), said on Monday morning that, “I think sometimes you simply have to yield to the objective evidence, and that is, it points to him being sympathetic to that point of view.”
Trump also defended himself against such accusations Monday morning on Twitter, saying, “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!”