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Conway: Attack suspect 'wrong' to call Trump a white nationalist symbol

The Hill logo The Hill 3/15/2019 Jordan Fabian

a person looking towards the camera: Conway: Attack suspect 'wrong' to call Trump a white nationalist symbol © Greg Nash Conway: Attack suspect 'wrong' to call Trump a white nationalist symbol White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Friday a suspect in the deadly New Zealand mosque shootings was "wrong" to call President Trump a symbol of "white identity."

"He's wrong. The shooter is an evil, hateful person. He's wrong about that," Conway told reporters at the White House.

Asked if Trump was disturbed to learn he was mentioned favorably by the suspect, Conway responded by asking the reporter "are you disturbed that somebody could be so hateful and evil?"

She also expressed outrage that social media companies would allow someone to live-stream "all this carnage."

"I think you should cover the entire manifesto if you're going to cherry pick a piece of it," Conway said. "Respectfully, you have a duty to talk about what's motivating hate and violence."

One of the suspects in the shootings that left 49 people dead and more than 40 others injured wrote in a 70-page manifesto that he supported Trump "as a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose" but not as a "policy maker and leader."

The writings reignited a debate about whether the president bears any responsibility for stoking white nationalism with his past comments, such as when he said in 2017 there were "very fine people on both sides" of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.

Trump condemned the "horrible massacre in the Mosques" earlier Friday on Twitter, expressing his support for the victims' families.

Conway said the president would address the attack in person during a Friday afternoon ceremony where he is expected to veto legislation that would end his national emergency at the southwest border.

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