One Leader Said Right-Wing Extremism Is Growing, The Other Denied It
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said "violent right-wing extremism" was on the rise globally within hours of US President Donald Trump saying he didn't "really" think so.
Making separate statements within hours of each other, the two world leaders were worlds apart on the issue of the threat of far-right extremism.
At a Saturday afternoon press briefing on the Christchurch terror attack, Jacinda Ardern stated it was a "fact" right-wing extremist groups are globally on the rise.
"What I do want to set out is simply what the agencies have advised me around the work that they had been undertaking around the existence of violent, right-wing extremist groups in New Zealand," Ardern said.
"They were live to those groups in New Zealand, as because of the fact there has been a rise of that at a global level. But again, as a consequence that had not led to this individual coming to the awareness of New Zealand agencies."
Less than 12 hours earlier, Donald Trump downplayed the threat of far-right extremism during his own media gathering in the Oval Office.
Asked if he saw white nationalism as a rising threat around the world in the aftermath of the Christchurch shooting, Trump quickly replied: "I don't really".
“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess. If you look what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case.
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"I don’t know enough about it yet. They are just learning about the person and the people involved but it’s certainly a terrible thing.”
Shortly after Trump's comments, Ardern was asked if she had spoken with the US President regarding the tragedy.
“He very much wished for his condolences to be passed on to New Zealand,” she said.
He asked what offer of support the United States could provide. My message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.
Brenton Tarrant was charged with murder over a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday that killed at least 49 people.
The 28-year-old did not apply for bail or suppression and was remanded in custody. He will reappear in court on April 5.
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