Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that President Trump was not a white supremacist and it was unfair to characterize the New Zealand gunman who slaughtered 50 people in a terrorist attack at two mosques as a supporter of Trump.
Mulvaney comments came during a discussion on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace about the New Zealand rampage and the killer’s rambling 74-page manifesto in which he describes himself as a supporter of Trump “as a symbol of renewed identity and common purpose.”
“I'm a little disappointed, you didn't put up 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,’” Mulvaney said.
“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 (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi or Ms. (Alexandria) Ocasio-Cortez,” he added, referring to the New York congresswoman.
Mulvaney called the gunman responsible for Friday’s Christchurch mosque shootings as a “disturbed individual, an evil person.”
Mulvaney also was asked if Trump has considered delivering a speech condemning white supremacy and anti-Muslim bigotry given that they were issues in the U.S.
“You've seen the president stand up for religious liberty, individual liberty,” Mulvaney said. “The president is not a white supremacist. I'm not sure how many times we have to say that. And, to simply ask the question, every time something like this happens overseas, or even domestically, to say, oh, my goodness, it must somehow be the president's fault speaks to a politicization of everything that I think is undermining sort of the institutions that we have in the country today."
Mulvaney added, “Let's take what happened in New Zealand yesterday for what it is. A terrible evil, tragic act and figure out why those things are becoming more prevalent in the world. Is it Donald Trump? Absolutely not.”
After being pressed on the matter, Mulvaney replied: "You may say you want to give him a national speech to address the nation, that's fine. Maybe we do that, maybe we don't but I think you could jump to the basic issue, the president is doing everything that we can to prevent this type of thing from happening here. The president is doing everything that we can to make it clear, look, this has to stop."
Fox News' Chris Wallace contributed to this report.