President Donald Trump just used similar language to describe immigrants coming into the United States that the alleged mass shooter did to justify killing nearly 50 Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand.
On Friday, Trump issued the first veto of his presidency to override a congressional blockade of the national emergency he declared at America’s southern border. During the veto signing ceremony, Trump explained why he felt a national emergency was warranted to stop migrants from entering the US.
“People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is,” he said, according to the White House pool report.
That is chillingly similar to the language the main suspect in Friday’s Christchurch terrorist attack used to explain why he chose to gun down at least 49 Muslims. In the rambling 74-page manifesto the 28-year-old suspected shooter posted online shortly before the attack, he writes that he was committing the killings “to show the invaders that our lands will never be their lands.”
It’s also the same language the man who killed 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh last October used: In that case, the perpetrator blamed Jews for helping what he called “invaders” in the Central American migrant caravans who were trying to enter the US.
To be clear, Trump did not use this language to justify killing Muslims, Jews, immigrants, or anyone else. In fact, he said the New Zealand attack was “horrible” and has expressed his condolences in more ways than one, including directly to the country’s prime minister.
But his rhetoric around both Muslims and immigrants echos some of the same exact tropes that white nationalist extremists frequently traffic in — and it has for a long time.
Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Trump tried to stoke fear and gin up Republican support by labeling a so-called caravan of Central Americans trying to enter America an “invasion” as well.
“That’s an invasion. I don’t care what they say. I don’t care what the fake media says. That’s an invasion of our country,” Trump said during a rally last November as his supporters chanted, “Build the wall.”
Meanwhile, Trump says he doesn’t think white nationalists, like the alleged terrorist in New Zealand, are becoming a global problem. “I think it’s a small group of people,” he said when asked Friday if he’s concerned about the spread of the hateful ideology around the world.