President Donald Trump’s failure to denounce white supremacy in the wake of massacres at two New Zealand mosques is being called out by a member of one of his favorite media corporations.
Fox Business Network host and Wall Street Journal editor-at-large Gerry Baker argued on Tuesday that the hate movement identifies with the president, pointing out that he hasn’t done much to change that perception.
“I think there’s no question that white supremacists, large numbers of white supremacists, see Donald Trump and other people like him as kind of on their side,” he said.
Baker said Trump should be taking a clear stance on the matter but defended the president’s response to violence at the 2017 Unite the Right neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
“I think Donald Trump was very, very badly misrepresented over the famous Charlottesville incident, where he was famously reported as saying ‘there is good people on both sides,’” Baker said. “He wasn’t actually saying there were good neo-Nazis ... but as sometimes happens, he didn’t get his message across very clearly.”
Trump’s exact words were that the rally included “some very fine people.” He also pinned the blame on “both sides” even though Heather Heyer, who was demonstrating against the rally, was killed by a white supremacist.
Given Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric, Baker said, “he and others could do a better job of standing up directly and denouncing” white supremacists.
The alleged gunman behind the New Zealand attack on Friday killed 50 people and injured dozens more. He appears to have harbored white supremacist views and hatred for Muslim immigrants, according to a 74-page manifesto posted online before the massacre.
It called Trump “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
Attempting to prove the shooter is not a Trump follower, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway urged the public on Monday to read the full document despite its dangerous promotion of extremism.
In a press conference hours after the violence unfolded, Trump claimed that he didn’t really see a rise in white nationalism, describing it as “a small group of people” even though Anti-Defamation League data indicates a dramatic spike in hateful propaganda over the past year.