After an apparent white supremacist carried out a deadly terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing dozens of people attending mosque, only a few Democratic candidates running for president in 2020 specifically called out the problem of white supremacy.
A suspect in the attack appeared to be a white supremacist motivated by U.S.-based extremism. The gunman, whose identity has not been confirmed, apparently posted a manifesto online declaring his hatred for Muslims, idolizing U.S. extremist movements, claiming he donated to white supremacist groups and reciting the “14 words,” a white supremacist slogan.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the massacre as a “terrorist attack” at a news conference, saying: “These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.”
Among the crowded Democratic field for 2020, only a handful of candidates called out the issue of white supremacy in so many words in their statements of condolences.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he was “sickened” by the news of the “horrific terrorist attack.”
“The rising tide of white supremacy and Islamophobia around the globe must be met with our determination to work against hate,” Booker tweeted.
I’m sickened by the news coming out of New Zealand—the horrific terrorist attack targeting Muslims at prayer that killed at least 49 people. The rising tide of white supremacy and Islamophobia around the globe must be met with our determination to work against hate.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) March 15, 2019
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) recalled previous attacks by white supremacists at AME Church in South Carolina in 2015 and a Pennsylvania synagogue last year, saying she was “praying for these communities and stand with them against hate, white supremacy and terrorism.”
We can’t accept a world where people are murdered because of who they are and where they worship—whether it’s mosques in Christchurch, an AME church in SC or a synagogue in PA. I’m praying for these communities and stand with them against hate, white supremacy and terrorism.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) March 15, 2019
And presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend in Indiana, said the attack was “an attack on us all.”
“And yet again, the obvious bears repeating: white nationalism kills,” he tweeted.
And yet again, the obvious bears repeating: white nationalism kills.
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) March 15, 2019
Meanwhile President Donald Trump, who has a record of Islamophobic rhetoric, online behavior and policies, tweeted out his “warmest sympathy and best wishes” to the people of New Zealand. He didn’t mention hate, religious intolerance, terrorism, extremism or anything close.
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