A police officer secures the area in front of the Masjid al Noor mosque after a shooting incident in Christchurch on 15 March 2019.
Trump apparently was incensed that major USA news outlets reported that Brent Harris Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist accused in the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, said in a manifesto he released Friday shortly before the attacks that he viewed Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common objective", even though he did not support his policies. I think one thing's for sure: White supremacists, neo-nazi groups, they look at governments as complicit, guilty and target government for punishment.
In the past, Trump has drawn criticism for saying "both sides" were to blame for violence at a deadly white supremacist demonstration.
The gunman in last week's attacks left a document in which he called himself a white nationalist and referred to Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity".
"The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the frightful attack in New Zealand", Trump told his more than 59 million followers on Twitter.
Why don't you think the president was willing to say he sees white nationalism, the white supremacy movement on the rise around the world?
During a television appearance Sunday, Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said it was "absurd" to draw a connection between Trump's many statements aboutimmigration and the acts of a shooter who embraced white nationalism.
Trump's homeland security chief, Kirstjen Nielsen, gave a distinctly different emphasis Monday in a speech where she said that "domestic terrorists", like the New Zealand killer, increasingly resemble the better known threat from Islamist groups.
"They are using the same do-it-yourself, mass murder tactics as we saw with the disgusting assault last week in New Zealand against Muslim worshipers", she said.
During his campaign for the presidency, Mr Trump called for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the USA and told supporters he would look at ways to "get rid of them" from the country. "This isn't normal or acceptable", tweeted Kirsten Gillibrand, who formally entered the Democratic race for the White House Sunday.
It came despite white supremacist killings in the U.S. more than doubling past year, according to Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC), which monitors extremist violence.