Democratic presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., slammed President Trump on Friday for saying he didn’t think white nationalism was a rising threat across the globe, in the wake of a mass shooting at two New Zealand mosques that left 49 dead.
“I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems,” Trump said in the Oval Office when asked by a reporter if he believed that white nationalism was a growing global threat.
“I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. They’re just learning about the person and the people involved,” he said. “But it’s certainly a terrible thing. Terrible thing.”
Those remarks brought a strong reaction from Gillibrand, who accused Trump of covering for white supremacists and “racist terrorists.”
“Time and time again, this president has embraced and emboldened white supremacists — and instead of condemning racist terrorists, he covers for them,” she tweeted. “This isn’t normal or acceptable. We have to be better than this.”
The world reacted with horror on Friday following the deadly massacre, allegedly carried out by a white nationalist during prayer services at two mosques. The attack left 49 dead and many more injured.
Trump, like many other world leaders, sent his condolences to the people of New Zealand. On Friday afternoon he spoke to that nation’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“I told the prime minister that the United States is with them all the way, a hundred percent,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “Whatever they need, we will be there. New Zealand has been a great friend and partner for many years. Our relationship has never been better. And what they’re going through is absolutely terrible.”
Fox News’ Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.