Following the horrific terrorist attack against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, on March 15, a reporter asked President Donald Trump whether he believed white nationalism was a growing global threat. Spoiler alert: His answer will not surprise you in the least.
The man elected in part because of his anti-immigrant rhetoric replied, as per The Washington Post, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. It’s certainly a terrible thing.”
A blatant red flag is Trump’s use of the phrase “very, very serious problems”—an invocation of the oft-used script that white terrorists are troubled young men instead of dangerous extremists. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) saw right through his crocodile tears ruse. After all, Trump supports racist extremists on Twitter and makes remarks about sh*thole countries. The freshman congresswoman tweeted that the subtext of Trump’s comment was, “[If] you engage in violent acts of white supremacy, I will look the other way.”
She’s utterly right. The Southern Poverty Law Center saw an almost 50-percent increase in white nationalist groups between 2017 and 2018. It’s no mere coincidence that these hate groups feel emboldened during Trump’s tenure.