President Trump condemned Friday's massacre in Christchurch, New Zealand, but National Journal politics editor Josh Kraushaar suggested that the president go beyond the remarks he gave at the White House.
The shootings at two mosques left at least 49 dead and dozens more injured. At the White House, Trump called the attack “evil,” but said he didn’t believe that white supremacy violence was on the rise, and said such acts were perpetrated by only a small group of people.
Still, many Democrats and members of the mainstream media have been linking Trump to the terrorist attack and pointing to his past rhetoric, which the critics contend was motivation for the shooting suspect, who referred to the president in his manifesto.
During Friday's "Special Report" All-Star panel, Kraushaar — along with Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen and the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway — weighed in on the fallout of the New Zealand attack and the president’s response.
Thiessen began by knocking the left’s “reflex” action of blaming Trump and guns after every mass shooting. He noted the hypocrisy of the left, which refused to connect Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to the Alexandria, Va., shooting of U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., at the hands of a former Sanders campaign worker.
“If you want to find someone to blame," Thiessen said, "social media is a good place to start. Social media is the accelerant that allows these things to happen."
He then recounted how the New Zealand suspect allegedly live-streamed the attack on Facebook, shared it on YouTube, and engaged with other white nationalists on platforms like Reddit and Twitter.
Kraushaar agreed with Thiessen on the significance of social media in such attacks, but insisted that President Trump could have more forcefully denounced such violence.
“It would be a welcome gesture for President Trump not just to respond in the Oval Office but to give a speech condemning anti-Muslim bigotry and really giving a message from the White House to the rest of the world that this type of rhetoric that inspired this white supremacist killer is absolutely unacceptable,” Kraushaar said.
Meanwhile, Hemingway urged everyone in the media not to “highlight” the killers of these attacks but to focus on the victims instead. She also cautioned against spreading news about the manifesto, saying it could potentially sow divisions among Americans.
“Responsible media outlets should make sure that they’re careful about how they talk about it so that these acts of hatred don’t further spread,” Hemingway said. “Sometimes downplaying the significance of what the hater believed can be helpful and just focusing people on loving one another and not letting these acts of evil overcome.”