Asked last week whether he saw white nationalism as a rising global threat, Trump said “I don’t really.”
He went on to characterize the movement as made up of a “small group of people that have very, very serious problems” and said “I guess, if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s a case. I don’t know enough about it yet.”
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, disagreed, saying white nationalism is on the rise “and the president should call it out, but sadly he’s not doing that.”
As a candidate, Trump proposed banning all Muslims from entering the United States. As president, he drew criticism for attempting to institute the travel ban and for being slow to condemn white supremacy and related violence. After a violent 2017 clash between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one demonstrator dead, Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” of the confrontation.
Trump also did not immediately reject support from David Duke, a former KKK Grand Wizard, during his presidential campaign.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, who is also Muslim, said Trump should call the Justice Department for data on the rise of white supremacy in the U.S. She urged Trump to use his bully pulpit to denounce the movement.
“He, from the Oval Office, from that power position, can be able to send a signal very loud and clear,” she said.
Mulvaney appeared on “Fox News Sunday” and CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Kaine and Tlaib spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.”