Donald Trump’s administration has been accused of ignoring terrorism when radicalised Muslims are not involved in a torrid exchange between US broadcaster CNN and a key aide to the President.
Jake Tapper, a senior reporter on the network, grilled Kellyanne Conway over the President hitting out at “dishonest media” for ignoring terror attacks. It prompted the White House to publish a list of 78 incidents it believed had been under-reported - a lesser accusation than the one issued by Trump.
In particular, Tapper seized on the fact all of the attacks listed were led by Muslims - despite an abundance of incidents perpetrated by white people.
Trump has made no public comment on the Quebec mosque attack in Canada where six Muslim worshippers were shot dead during prayers at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec.
Tapper challenged Conway on the point:
“In Quebec City last week, a white right-wing terrorist opened fire on a mosque. A mosque filled with men, women and children. Six people were killed. President Trump has not said or tweeted one public word about this. You want to talk about ignoring terrorism? Why hasn’t the president offered his sympathy to our neighbors in the north?”
Conway insisted Trump is “sympathetic to any loss of life” and said her boss “doesn’t tweet about everything”. Tapper went again, making the point that the President “tweeted when there was an attack on the Louvre museum when nobody was killed” and underlined how the Charleston, South Carolina, massacre was carried out by a white nationalist. He said:
“I don’t understand why he wouldn’t tweet when six Canadian citizens were murdered, except for the fact that the undercover document the White House distributed last night did not mention any attacks other than those by Muslim terrorists.
“Obviously radical Islamist terrorism is a big problem, but there are all kinds of horrific terrorism that take place, we saw some of that in South Carolina recently, and I guess the question is: are these victims any less dead than the ones killed by Islamic radical terror?”
Elsewhere in the interview, Tapper pointed out “CNN and other media organisations cover terrorism all the time” as footage of his CNN colleagues reporting on the attacks was screened. “Saying we don’t cover terrorism, that’s just false,” he added.
Conway, who argued the Trump administration has the “highest respect for the truth”, also conceded CNN was not “fake news”, as Trump argued following leaked documents.
Tapper also pressed Conway on Trump’s false statement that the US murder rate was the highest in 47 years. The rate ticked up last year, but remains drastically lower than in prior decades. Conway dodged the question, complaining about attacks about her in the media.
“Facts are stubborn things,” Tapper said. “And to say we’re not reporting something that happens not to be true, therefore we’re not to be trusted ― that’s a problem.”