Following dozens of tweets over the weekend about myriad other subjects, President Trump turned Monday to the New Zealand mosque shootings, asserting that news outlets were trying to blame him for the massacre.
“The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand,” Trump wrote. “They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!”
Trump’s tweet was the first since Friday to refer to the shootings that killed 50 Muslim worshipers and injured 40 at two mosques in Christchurch.
Over the weekend, he commented on an array of other topics, including “Saturday Night Live,” the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), the Russia investigation and Fox News Channel anchors.
Although few in the news media have directly blamed Trump for the mosque shootings, the massacre has prompted renewed discussions about the influence of the president’s rhetoric on immigration.
In a long manifesto, the alleged gunman, who is from Australia, called Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose” and referred to immigrants as “invaders within our lands.”
During a television appearance Sunday, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said it was “absurd” to draw a connection between Trump’s many statements aboutimmigration and the acts of a shooter who embraced white nationalism.
“The president is not a white supremacist,” he said, responding to critics who accused Trump of echoing the suspect’s rhetoric in comments from the Oval Office hours after the massacre.
“There are folks who just don’t like the president, and everything that goes wrong they’re going to look for a way to tie that to the president,” Mulvaney added.
In tweets Friday, Trump said that Americans “stand in solidarity” with New Zealand and that the United States is prepared to assist its ally.