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Why Trump’s comments about the New Zealand attacks are so disturbing

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President Donald Trump has issued a response to Friday’s shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, where at least 49 people have been killed.

In a tweet, Trump posted:

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The White House also issued a statement:

The United States strongly condemns the attack in Christchurch. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate.

The president’s responses quickly came under criticism for what they left out. Although Trump’s response did mention “mosques,” he didn’t specifically mention Islamophobia — unlike Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who tweeted, “We don’t back down in the face of Islamophobia and racism at home or abroad”— or name “Muslims” specifically as the victims. In a tweet, former President Barack Obama assured “the people of New Zealand” that “we grieve with you and the Muslim community.”

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been highly critical of Trump following the Christchurch attacks—which, according to New Zealand authorities, were motivated by both white supremacist views and anti-Islam views.

At a Friday press conference, CAIR’s founder and executive director, Nihad Awad, asserted that Trump’s rhetoric had encouraged anti-Islam bigotry. Trump, Awad told journalists, has been “able to normalize Islamophobia and give legitimacy to those who fear Muslims and fear immigrants.”

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Awad called for Trump to condemn the New Zealand shooting as a “white supremacist attack,” and the CAIR founder told reporters, “It is no secret that Mr. Trump has campaigned on white supremacist ideology, on division and fear. He campaigned against immigrants, against Mexicans, against African-Americans, against women, against Muslims. Muslims have received the lion’s share of his attacks.”

Awad went on to say that if Trump “would like to be the leader of the free world, he has to change his policies—and he has to reset the tone by committing himself to unity, equality.”

In the Nation, John Nichols described Trump’s response to the Christchurch massacre as “muffled” and complained that it should have been more forceful. Nichols wrote, “On one of the darkest days in history for Muslims worldwide, the president’s initial response to the New Zealand killings failed to mention Muslims, Islam, Islamophobia, white supremacy, racism, bigotry or violent hatred that targets people based on their religion.”

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One of the most vehement responses to the attack came from the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt, who asserted during a Friday interview with NPR that it “clearly was motivated by white supremacy.

Greenblatt told NPR, “We’ve got a big problem on our hands, and we need to recognize that social media allows white supremacy, much like other forms of hate, to travel across borders. And we’ve got to recognize it for the global terror threat that it really is.”

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Another word missing from Trump’s response was “terrorist.” In contrast, Democrat Hillary Clinton’s response specifically mentioned “white supremacist terrorists.”

Clinton was quite forceful in her response as well, tweeting:

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Leaders in Europe, meanwhile, have been quick to describe the shooting as terrorism. German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her solidarity with New Zealand Muslims “who were attacked and murdered out of racist hatred” and asserted, “We stand together against such acts of terrorism.” And French President Emmanuel Macron declared, “France stands against all forms of extremism and acts with its partners against terrorism in the world.”


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75 years ago: When atomic scientist Leo Szilard tried to halt dropping bombs over Japan

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As this troubled summer rolls along, and the world begins to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the creation, and use, of the first atomic bombs, many special, or especially tragic, days will draw special attention.  They will include July 16 (first test of the weapon in New Mexico), August 6 (bomb dropped over Hiroshima) and August 9 (over Nagasaki).   Surely far fewer in the media and elsewhere will mark another key date:  July 3.

On July 3, 1945, the great atomic scientist Leo Szilard finished a letter/petition that would become the strongest (virtually the only) real attempt at halting President Truman's march to using the atomic bomb--still almost two weeks from its first test at Trinity--against Japanese cities.

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‘Insane’: Park ranger shoots unarmed man through his heart and then handcuffs his dead body

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A ranger at Carlsbad Caverns National Park tased and then fatally shot a man during a New Mexico traffic stop and then handcuffed his lifeless body.

Charles "Gage" Lorentz was traveling March 21 from his work site in Pecos, Texas, to his family's home in southwest Colorado when he detoured at the national park to meet a friend, and that's where he encountered National Park Ranger Robert Mitchell, reported KOB-TV.

The ranger stopped the 25-year-old Lorentz for speeding on a dirt road near the park's Rattlesnake Springs area, and Mitchell's lapel video shows him ordering Lorentz to spread his feet and move closer to a railing.

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Former Trump administration official refers to a renowned Black scholar as ‘some criminal’

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President Donald Trump's former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to renowned Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. as "some criminal" in an interview with The New York Times Magazine.

Sessions, one of Trump's earliest supporters who was later fired after years of attacks from the president, is currently attempting to reclaim his old Senate seat in Alabama. Sessions has desperately tried to tout his Trumpist credentials on the campaign trail, even as the president has waged a campaign aimed at sabotaging his primary bid.

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