Aug 4, 2019

Mick Mulvaney denies Trump has downplayed threat of white nationalism

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended President Trump on ABC's "This Week" against allegations that some of his past comments have downplayed the rising threat of white nationalism in the U.S., and that his divisive rhetoric is helping fuel violent domestic attacks like the shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday.

JON KARL: "Back in March he was asked directly, do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world? His answer: 'I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have a very serious problem.' He downplayed the threat of white nationalism. Was he wrong to do that?"
MULVANEY: "No, I don't believe that's downplaying it, look at what he said. Read the last sentence. I don't have it in front of me. 'This is a small group of people' and finish the sentence."
KARL: "I'll read the whole thing again. He was asked directly, do you see today white nationalism as a rising threat around the world? His answer: 'I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have a very, very serious problem."
MULVANEY: "Look, this is not the same as international nuclear weapons. This is a serious problem, there's no question about it. But they are sick, sick people and the president knows that. Again, Jon, I don't think it's fair to try and lay this at the feet of the president. There are people in this country this morning thinking that President Trump was happy by this. That's a sad, sad state of this nation. He's angry. He's upset. He wants it to stop. I don't think it's at all fair to sit here and say that he doesn't think that white nationalism is bad for the nation. These are sick people. You cannot be a white supremacist and be normal in the head."

Why it matters: Some evidence from authorities indicate the mass shooting in El Paso on Saturday, which resulted in at least 20 deaths, could be prosecuted as a hate crime. Police are investigating a racist online post that appeared just before the shooting, per AP. The shooter allegedly told police after the shooting that he "wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible," according to ABC News.

  • A number of 2020 candidates and high-profile Democrats accused President Trump of fueling racism and violence in the aftermath of the shooting. Beto O'Rourke said on CNN's "State of the Union" that Trump is a "white nationalist" and that "this cannot be open for debate."

2020 candidate Julián Castro responded to Mulvaney's defensive stance in a follow-up interview on ABC:

  • "It's so unfortunate that not only our president but his administration can't rise up to the challenge of leadership in these times."
  • "There's one person that's responsible directly for that shooting in El Paso and that's the shooter. At the same time, as our national leader you have a role to play in either fanning the flames in division or bringing Americans of different backgrounds together."

Go deeper: What you can and must do to help stop mass shootings

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.

WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.