WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Won't Say Why Trump Won't Give Speech Decrying White Nationalists: He's "Not a White Supremacist"

Following the recent horrific shootings at mosques in New Zealand, President Donald Trump has been criticized for appearing to downplay the rise of white nationalism abroad and domestically. Appearing on Fox News Sunday this morning, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney could not answer the question of why the president has yet to give a national speech decrying white supremacists and anti-Muslim bigotry.

Mulvaney appeared on Fox News Sunday, where host Chris Wallace made it clear he does not hold President Trump directly responsible for the murders of at least 51 people in the recent massacres at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, but noted that Trump has repeatedly been accused of contributing to an "anti-Muslim climate," by statements he's made in recent years, including his claim, "I think Islam hates us."

Wallace pointed out that the alleged shooter's 74-page manifesto talks about killing "invaders," referring to immigrants, and that President Trump, while signing his first veto last week, used similar language to talk about immigration.

"People hate the word 'invasion,' but that's what it is," said Trump during the veto signing. "It's an invasion of drugs and criminals."

Wallace then asked Mulvaney if the president had considered, "giving a major speech condemning anti-Muslim, white-supremacist bigotry?"

Rather than answer that question directly, Mulvaney took issue with the "invaders" implication, calling it "absurd."

"[T]o say that there is some type of connection between being against illegal immigration — which is what the veto was about, illegal immigration, and for legal immigration — and the ruthless livestreaming of murder of 15 people, the two things have nothing to do with each other."

Wallace continued to press on the question regarding Trump's apparent reluctance give a speech on the matter.

"To the degree that there is an issue with white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Muslim bigotry in this country — and there is an issue with that — why not deliver a speech condemning it?" he asked once more.

"You've seen the president stand up for individual liberties, religious the liberties. The president is not a white supremacist, I'm not sure how many times we have to say that," responded Mulvaney, "and to simply ask the question every time something like this happens overseas, or even domestically, to say 'Oh my goodness, it must somehow be the president's fault,' speaks to a politicization of everything that I think is undermining, sort of, the institutions that we have in the country today.

"Let's take what happened in New Zealand yesterday for what it is: a terrible, evil tragic act and figure out why those things are becoming more prevalent in the world. Is it Donald Trump? Absolutely not," continued the acting chief of staff. "There's something else happening in our culture where people think, 'You know what? I think today I'm gonna go on TV and livestream me murdering other people.' That's what we should be talking about."

Once more, Wallace was undettered in trying to get an answer regarding the lack of a presidential speech on the matter.

"All I'm saying is the president speaks out about a lot of things that he's not responsible for and that he doesn't feel that there's any link," noted Wallace, using terrorism as an example. "Why not make a speech and make it clear that there is no place in America for this kind of hatred?"

"I'm not sure what more you want the president to do," answered Mulvaney. "You may say you want him to give a national speech to address the nation — that's fine, maybe we do that, maybe we don't — but I think you get down to the basic issue, which is that the president is doing everything that we can to prevent this type of thing from happening here, and the president is doing everything we can to make clear that, look, this has to stop."

While President Trump routinely uses Twitter to reach a national audience, he has only made one nationally televised address from the Oval Office. On January 8, 2019, nearly two years into his presidency and during a record-long 35-day partial government shutdown, the president used this unique platform to make his case that congress should appropriate funding for his proposed wall along the country's southern border with Mexico.

Mick Mulvaney
Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney talks to reporters during a news conference about the ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government at the White House January 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. Mulvaney and White House Legislative Affairs Director Marc Short laid the blame for the shutdown on Senate Democrats. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WH Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Won't Say Why Trump Won't Give Speech Decrying White Nationalists: He's "Not a White Supremacist" | U.S.