Kaine says Trump's rhetoric "emboldens" white nationalists

Kaine: Trump's rhetoric "emboldens" white nationalists

Days after a deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand by a gunman who appeared to align with the white supremacist movement, Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine said President Trump's rhetoric emboldens white nationalists around the world. 

"The president uses language often that's very similar to the language used by these bigots and racists. And if he's not going to call it out, then other leaders have to do more to call it out and I certainly will," Kaine told "Face the Nation." "I think the president is using language that emboldens them."

The suspected gunman in the New Zealand shooting had written a manifesto referencing "white genocide" driven by "mass immigration" and accused Muslims of invading the country. He also directly referenced Mr. Trump in his writings. 

Kaine's state of Virginia was the site of deadly demonstrations by white nationalists in August 2017, after which Mr. Trump claimed there were "very fine people" on both sides. The president addressed the New Zealand attack on Friday, saying he had spoken to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to offer his condolences and offer U.S. assistance. 

"These places of worship turned into scenes of horrible killing," Mr. Trump said, adding that the U.S. was "100 percent" with the people of New Zealand. "Our hearts are with them."

Mr. Trump also said he did not see a rise in white nationalism around the world, saying it was "a small group of people" who perpetrated these attacks. 

Kaine also noted Mr. Trump offered his condolences to those impacted by the shooting as he was vetoing Congress' rebuke of his national emergency declaration.

"He used the word 'invaders' to characterize people coming to the nation's southern borders which was exactly the same phrase that the shooter in New Zealand used to characterize the Muslims that he was attacking," Kaine said. "That kind of language from the person who probably has the loudest microphone on the planet Earth is hurtful and dangerous and it tends to incite violence. That's not what the president should do."

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital