Representing the White House Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and on “Fox News Sunday,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney had to expect questions about Friday’s terrorist attack on two New Zealand mosques. But his answers only further discouraged any hopes that the Trump administration might lift even a finger to prevent future attacks by white supremacists.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mulvaney showed no concern that the shooter wrote: “Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump? As a symbol of renewed identity and common purpose? Sure.” When Fox’s Chris Wallace displayed the passage, Mulvaney responded:

I’m a little disappointed, you didn’t put up the next sentence, which the next sentence, because I looked at it last night, was, what about his policies and he’s a leader, and he said, “dear god, no.”
I don’t think it’s fair to cast this person as a supporter of Donald Trump any more than it is to look at his — sort of his eco-terrorist passages in that manifesto that align him with Nancy Pelosi or [Alexandria] Ocasio-Cortez.

Well, the difference is the killer didn’t see either Ocasio-Cortez or Pelosi as a “symbol," only the president. That he didn’t agree with Trump’s methods doesn’t make it any less disturbing that he liked what he thought Trump’s aims were. So while, as Wallace put it, “the only person responsible for this slaughter is the shooter," the shooter’s own words make it fair to raise Trump in the context of the attack.

But looking beyond Friday, what about preventing the next white-supremacist attack in the United States or elsewhere? The first obvious response would be reviewing and improving intelligence-gathering to foil future attacks. With the Internet playing so crucial a role in these plots, that requires the United States and allies sharing intelligence about white-supremacist groups. Indeed New Zealand is one of the countries best placed to help in this area, given the decades of close ties between U.S. and New Zealand intelligence. Mulvaney even mentioned “the New Zealanders, some of our very closest allies in the global war on terror, some of our closest friends, we share a great deal of information with them.”

But Mulvaney forgot to mention that, as The Post’s Shane Harris reports, while the United States and close allies such as New Zealand do pool intelligence on groups such as al-Qaeda, “there’s no comparable arrangement for sharing intelligence about domestic terrorist organizations, including right-wing extremists." This clear gap exists even though “nationalist groups in different countries are drawing inspiration from each other” over the Internet. And while white-supremacist attacks are particularly on the rise in the United States, there have been high-profile white-supremacist attacks in Canada and the United Kingdom as well, with the perpetrators clearly having been radicalized online.

The other obvious response would be for the president to make a speech denouncing Islamophobia and white supremacy. On both shows, Mulvaney tried to duck questions on why Trump hasn’t delivered such an address. He lamely told CBS: “The president communicates in his way. Different presidents have communicated in their way.” On Fox News, he opted for a different yet still lame answer: “You’ve seen the president stand up for religious liberty, individual liberty. The president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.”

The determination to do nothing to prevent the next white-supremacist attack was perhaps best summed up in another Mulvaney dodge on Fox News: “Is there something else happening in our culture where people go, ‘Know what? I think today I’m going to go on TV and livestream me murdering other people.’ That’s what we should be talking about. Not the politics of the United States.”

Note the “something else.” In the Trump narrative, it must be “something else” that fueled this killing — anything else. As Mulvaney admitted on CBS: “You saw him asked the other day, does he think [white supremacy] is a rising threat? And he says no. I think there’s information that would back that up.” Yet Mulvaney didn’t offer any of that information to actually support that. It’s unfortunate and dangerous enough that the president thinks this way. It’s worse that those surrounding him either agree or are too scared to dissuade him.

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