Trump accuses Twitter, social media of 'discrimination' against right

Trump accuses Twitter, social media of 'discrimination' against right
US President Donald Trump said Twitter and other social media are discriminating against conservatives on Tuesday, as the world grieves for victims of the New Zealand mosque attacks.
3 min read
19 March, 2019
US President Donald Trump made the remarks on Twitter [Getty]
Twitter and other social media are discriminating against conservatives, US President Donald Trump charged on Tuesday.

"It seems to be if they are conservative, if they are Republicans, in a certain group, there is discrimination. I see it on Twitter and Facebook," Trump said at a joint press briefing with his Brazilian counterpart Jair Bolsonaro.

Earlier in the day Trump expressed similar complaints on Twitter where, despite his allegations of bias, he himself has 59 million followers.

The remarks came amid global outrage over the killing of at least 50 people that were murdered during an attack on two mosques in New Zealand's Christchurch.

Brenton Tarrant, a 28-year-old Australian far-right extremist, was been charged with murder over the worst modern-day massacre in New Zealand.

In a rambling manifesto, the gunman had said he was motivated partly by a desire to stoke a violent response from Muslims and a religious war between Islam and the West. He also described President Trump as "a symbol of renewed white identity".

On Saturday, Trump denied that white nationalism was a rising threat around the world, just hours after the racist and Islamophobic massacre in New Zealand.

Trump expressed sympathy along with most international leaders for the victims who died at "places of worship turned into scenes of evil killing", but declined to join expressions of mounting concern about white nationalism. 

"I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess," Trump said Friday in remarks after issuing his first veto. "If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. But it's certainly a terrible thing."

When asked about the accused gunman's reference to him, Trump said he hadn't seen it. 

"But I think it's a horrible event... a horrible, disgraceful thing and a horrible act."

In his manifesto, the accused shooter proudly stated he was a white nationalist who hates immigrants and that his attack was is response to attacks in Europe that were perpetrated by Muslims. He mentioned the US president in a single reference.

"Were/are you a supporter of Donald Trump?" was one of the questions he posed to himself. His answer: "As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose? Sure. As a policy maker and leader? Dear god no."

The White House immediately denounced the connection. But the mention from the suspect, who had drawn Nazi imagery in white on his black semi-automatic weapons, showcases how the US president has been embraced by some on the far-right.

Trump, who is behind the Muslim ban in the US, has drawn criticism for being slow to condemn right wing extremism. 

After a 2017 clash between white nationalists and anti-racist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one demonstrator dead, Trump said there were "very fine people on both sides".

Read also: We told you the threat is white supremacy. You ignored us.

He also did not immediately reject the support of David Duke, a former KKK Grand Wizard, during his presidential campaign.

The grand imam of Egypt's famed Al-Azhar mosque and university, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, has condemned the attacks as a "horrific terrorist attack".

The "rising rhetoric of hatred and xenophobia and the spread of Islamophobia" were to blame, he said.

The number of people killed or wounded in the racist shooting represent around 1 in every 500 Muslims in New Zealand, which has a Muslim population of nearly 50,000.

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