(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Andre Carson (D-Ind.), one of three Muslims serving in the House of Representatives, told MSNBC on Sunday that the slaughter of New Zealand Muslims may not be President Trump's fault, even though Trump has "electrified" white supremacists who form "a large part of his base."
"I won't say it's Donald Trump's fault," Carson told MSNBC's Kasie Hunt. "I think his language, his actions, his words, his policy positions, his dog whistling, has electrified those groups and energized those groups, and without him saying it explicitly, they are left to assume that he is in support of their agenda.
"And so, I think the president has an opportunity to be very bold and to be very clear and decisive in repudiating these organizations and distancing himself from their agenda."
President Trump condemned the New Zealand massacre, calling it "horrible" and "horrific" and tweeting that "49 innocent people have so senselessly died."
Later, when asked if he believes white nationalism is a growing threat, Trump said, "I don't, really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems."
But some of Trump's critics say it's not enough -- he should condemn Islamophobia specifically.
"So, why do you think the president isn't doing that more aggressively than he has?" Kasie Hunt asked Carson:
"That's a question you'd have to ask the president," Carson replied.
"I think that a large part of his base is composed of people who share these white supremacist views and ideologies and, honestly, I think that his appeal to making America great again, taking America back to a mythical good old days really is a part of the white supremacist narrative that has used for decades, even religious texts to support their destructive ideology."
Hunt wondered if Trump's response to the New Zealand attack makes Carson "more concerned about the safety of Muslims and our communities here at home?"
"I'm always concerned about the safety of Muslims across the country and even globally," Carson said.
"There are some communities who have security and they conduct searches regularly. There are others who have -- and I work with local law enforcement, along with security at the masjid or mosque to thwart any potential violence and attacks. But more can be done. And I think local law enforcement has to play a role in that. I think local law enforcement should play a role in that.
“What that looks like is something that we can discuss,” Carson said. “There are a lot of -- there are many Muslims who happen to be police officers. I was one of them. But I think that the law enforcement community has to deal with Muslims in a way that is not just transactional. We have a frayed history with law enforcement community going back to J. Edgar Hoover's counterintelligence program. And so the law enforcement community has a wonderful opportunity to now start building bridges in a way that is beyond rhetoric and empty -- and small talk.”
On Sunday, Fox News's Chris Wallace asked acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney if Trump should deliver a speech condemning white supremacy and anti-Muslim bigotry.
Mulvaney defended Trump: "You have seen the president stand up for religious liberty, individual liberty. The president is not a white supremacist," Mulvaney said. "I'm not sure how many times we have to say that. Let's take what happened in New Zealand yesterday for what it is -- a terrible, evil, tragic act, and figure out why those things are becoming more prevalent in the world? Is it Donald Trump? Absolutely not."