Donald Trump, White House condemn New Zealand mosque shooting in Christchurch

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Dozens are dead after two mosques were attacked in Christchurch, New Zealand.
USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump and the White House on Friday condemned the terrorist attacks at New Zealand mosques and said the U.S. will extend any support necessary.

“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured,” Trump tweeted. “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders sent out a separate statement saying “we stand in solidarity with the people of New Zealand and their government against this vicious act of hate.”

The shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch left 49 people dead in what Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called “one of New Zealand’s darkest days.”‘

“It is clear that this can now only be described as a terrorist attack,” Ardern said.

Trump extended prayers to New Zealand while under criticism in the United States over an interview in which he spoke about how his supporters could “play tougher” if necessary.

“I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad,” Trump told the Breitbart News Network website.

Breitbart said Trump was talking about the “vicious” tactics of “the left.”

“So here’s the thing—it’s so terrible what’s happening,” Trump said before discussing his supporters. “You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?”

Trump’s critics accused him of fomenting violence by his backers.

“I think it sounds very much to me like he’s encouraging them to engage in something that’s probably illegal such as assaulting people, you know behave in a dangerous way,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. “That sounds like a threat to me. I think it’s appalling.”

Trump tweeted out the interview on Thursday night — but that post was deleted Friday morning, amid news of the New Zealand shooting.

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