After 49 individuals were killed in a terrorist attack targeting Muslims in New Zealand, the president expressed his condolences to that nation and the victims involved — after which he then deleted a tweet linking to comments he made earlier this week that some have said demonstrate his condoning violence from right-wing actors.
President Donald Trump, joining leaders from around the world, condemned the killings of dozens of worshippers at two separate mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, who were victims of a mass shooting from an assailant who, according to reporting from CNN, appears to be an extremist Australian with far-right viewpoints.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques,” Trump wrote in a tweet on the matter. “49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019
After that tweet was issued, Trump deleted a separate tweet he made prior, in which he linked to the main page of the Breitbart News Network. As politics reporter John Haltiwanger pointed out, Breitbart itself is barely a month removed from penning its own controversial tweet against Muslims, from around the time of the Super Bowl.
The last tweet Trump sent before his delayed reaction to the New Zealand shooting promotes Breitbart, a blatantly Islamophobic publication. It’s been barely a month since Breitbart was widely decried for this anti-Muslim tweet (since deleted) around the Super Bowl. pic.twitter.com/7saCPzesWi
— John Haltiwanger (@jchaltiwanger) March 15, 2019
Although the link Trump shared went directly to the main landing page for Breitbart, some have speculated that he shared the link in order to promote an exclusive interview he granted with the organization, which was published on Thursday.
In that interview, Trump made clear that he saw his supporters as tougher than their liberal counterparts. He also suggested that the left talks a tough game, but added he has “the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump” who he sees as being tougher.
They “don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump added, per previous reporting from HillReporter.com.
Some saw Trump’s comments from that interview as a thinly veiled message to his supporters to engage in violent acts. The message from Trump, according to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, was quite possibly “a threat of fascist violence by the President,” per reporting from Newsweek.