President Donald Trump said Friday that he doesn’t think white nationalism is a growing problem.
In a press conference after he vetoed Congress’ attempt to end his national emergency over border wall funding, Trump was asked various questions in relation to the mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand on Friday. According to a pool report, one reporter asked the president if he saw a rise in white nationalism around the world.
“I don’t really,” Trump responded. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess. If you look what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. … But it’s certainly a terrible thing.”
The president also said he had not seen a manifesto purportedly written by the alleged shooter, who appears to be an avowed white nationalist bent on killing Muslim immigrants.
“I did not see it,” Trump said of the manifesto. “But I think it’s a horrible event, it’s a horrible thing. I saw it early in the morning when I looked at what was happening, and we spoke, as you know, to the prime minister. I think it’s a horrible disgraceful thing, horrible act.”
White nationalism is not represented by a “small group of people,” even when only looking at numbers and anecdotes in the United States. Droves of white nationalists have marched through U.S. streets and attacked or killed people. Different extremist groups with ties to white nationalism demonstrate across the country to this day. Groups numbering in the hundreds have worked in tandem to infiltrate the GOP, recruit on college campuses, and attempt to tip the electoral tide in favor of candidates who share their views. They even have political candidates who share their views.
And outside of the U.S., white nationalist factions have been able to congregate publicly on a gargantuan scale. Some 60,000 of them marched to defend “white Europe” in Poland in 2017, for example.
And then there’s the internet, where white nationalists gather to plot attacks and share dangerous ideology. Perhaps only a “small” number of people act on their violent rhetoric, but the repercussions are still horrific and very often deadly.