Hickenlooper: Trump 'should be ashamed of himself' over white nationalism comments

Posted at 11:20 PM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-21 01:20:29-04

(CNN) -- Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Wednesday President Donald Trump "should be ashamed of himself" for saying he doesn't view white nationalism as a rising global threat following the mosque terror attacks in New Zealand that killed 50 people.

When the presidential hopeful was asked about Islamophobia and white nationalism during a CNN town hall in Atlanta, he replied, "The rise of Islamophobia and white nationalism are different sides of the same coin."

"Anytime you are making comments and creating, fanning the flames of hatred, then you're doing a genuine harm to your community," Hickenlooper continued, before adding:

"I don't know what to say -- I think President Trump should be ashamed of himself."

Fifty people were killed and 50 more were injured in the worst massacre in New Zealand's modern history when a gunman attacked two mosques in central Christchurch last week.

Responding to the massacre, Trump said he does not see white nationalism as a rising threat around the world.

"I don't really," Trump said in the Oval Office after being questioned about whether he views white nationalism as growing. "I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess."

Trump called the attack a "terrible thing," and said he had not yet seen the manifesto the gunman wrote.

"I did not see it. I did not see it, but I think it's a horrible event, it's a horrible thing," the President said.

Trump had previously offered his condolences to the people of New Zealand on Twitter and wrote, "My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques."

He added, "The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!"

This story has been updated.

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