Immigration

Trump slammed for saying he doesn’t think white nationalism is a rising threat

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The White House has rejected any link between the Christchurch attacker and US President Donald Trump.

US President Donald Trump has been criticised for using language to describe illegal immigrants similar to what the Australian man accused of leading the Christchurch mosque massacres allegedly used in a 74-page manifesto.

Trump's eyebrow-raising words came during an event at the White House on Friday.

The president showed compassion for the 49 people killed in the New Zealand shooting rampage but almost in the same breath described illegal immigrants entering the US from Mexico as an "invasion".

President Trump has offered New Zealand his full support after the Christchurch mosque attacks.
President Trump has offered New Zealand his full support after the Christchurch mosque attacks.
AAP

It is similar to the language 28-year-old Brenton Harrison Tarrant is accused of using in the "manifesto" that appeared online before the mosque killings began.

Trump said in the Oval Office: "People hate the word invasion, but that's what it is. It is an invasion of drugs and criminals and people."

Tarrant allegedly was incensed by immigration and complained about "white genocide" from non-white immigration.

The Australian, who has been charged with murder, allegedly wrote in the post: "We must crush immigration and deport those invaders already living on our soil. It is not just a matter of our prosperity, but the very survival of our people."

Trump, asked by reporters, said he had not read the manifesto.

Tarrant allegedly referred to Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose" but did not support him "as a policy maker and leader".

"Dear god no," the manifesto reads.

Trump was also criticised for telling reporters on Friday he did not believe white nationalists were on the rise.

"I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems I guess," Trump said.

"If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's a case.

"I don't know enough about it yet.

Brenton Tarrant in court, charged with murder over the Christchurch mosque massacre.
Brenton Tarrant in court, charged with murder over the Christchurch mosque massacre.
AAP

"We're just learning about the person and the people involved but it is certainly a terrible thing."

White House director of strategic communications Mercedes Schlapp rejected any link between the attackers and the president.

"It is outrageous to even make that connection between this deranged individual that committed this evil crime to the president who has repeatedly condemned bigotry and racism and has made it very clear that this is a terrorist attack," Schlapp told reporters at the White House.

Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Mourners pay their respects at a makeshift memorial near the Masjid Al Noor mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

Civil rights groups, including the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, disagreed.

"The atrocity in New Zealand shows us, once again, that we're dealing with an international terrorist movement linked by a dangerous white supremacist ideology that's metastasising in the echo chambers of internet chat rooms and on social media networks," SPLC president Richard Cohen said.

"This hatred is even being amplified by our own president, who speaks of an 'invasion of our country.'

"The killer's manifesto bears the unmistakable fingerprints of the so-called alt-right, both in tone and reference.

"It celebrates the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik as well as Charleston terrorist Dylann Roof.

"It speaks of 'invaders' who will 'replace' white people.

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