American journalist Don Lemon has denounced US President Donald Trump’s ignorance after he said he did not see a rise in right-wing white extremism in the aftermath of a terrorist attack by a heavily armed white supremacist at two New Zealand mosques on Friday that killed 49 people.
According to Press TV, Trump said on Friday he doesn’t view white extremism as a rising threat even though many blame the terrorist massacre of Muslims in Christchurch on his demonization of Muslims.
“I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” Trump told reporters at the White House when asked if he thought white nationalism is a growing global threat.
Muslim and civil rights activists have long accused Trump of promoting intolerance. He called for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US during his election campaign.
Some analysts have rejected Trump’s claim about the threat of white nationalists, saying the US president’s immigration policies have emboldened far-right groups and white supremacist ideology in the West.
“For him to not to be able to know that right-wing extremism is on the rise is very ignorant,” Lemon, a CNN host and vocal critic of Trump, said on Saturday.
“And I think yes, he does whatever is politically expedient to him. He knows that he says he’s not racist, but the racists think he’s racist and they support him, and he doesn’t want to lose that support. He cannot win an election with just his base next time, and they are a very vocal and active part of his base,” he added.
In his manifesto, Brenton Tarrant said he saw Trump as “symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose.”
Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan told CNN Tonight that “far-right terrorism” was on the rise in the United States and blamed President Trump for attacks both in the US and abroad.
Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim-American civil rights group, said Trump has “normalized” Islamophobia.
“In many white supremacists’ attacks on the American-Muslim community, the attackers cite Trump and cite his policies,” Awad said at a news conference on Friday in Washington.