Mulvaney: Trump Blamed Every Time Something Bad Happens

By Susan Jones | March 18, 2019 | 5:14am EDT
Mick Mulvaney serves as White House chief of staff and as director of the Office of Management and Budget. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( - President Trump tweeted on Monday, "The Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand. They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!"

On Sunday, Trump's acting White House chief of staff defended the boss on CBS's "Face the Nation."

"I want to push back against this idea that every time something bad happens everywhere around the world, folks who don't like Donald Trump seem to blame it on Donald Trump," Mick Mulvaney said. "That's clearly what some folks want to do," Mulvaney told host Margaret Brennan, who asked him if President Trump believes that white supremacy is a growing threat in the United States.

"I disagree that there's a causal link between Donald Trump being president and something like this happening in New Zealand," Mulvaney replied.

I think the president you saw -- you saw him asked the other day, does he think it's a rising threat? And he says no. I think there's information that would back that up.

The issue is, how do you stop these crazy people? Whether or not there's one of them or four of them doesn't make a difference, if they're willing to go on live TV and stream the murder of people. So I think that's where the time is better spent.

Instead of worrying about, well, who's to -- who's to blame, how do we stop from doing this? Donald Trump is no more to blame for what happened in New Zealand than Mark Zuckerberg is because he invented Facebook. There are some terrible people in the world. We need to work with our partners, of which New Zealand is one of, and to try and figure a way to find them, expose them and bring them to justice.

"Why not directly address white supremacy, and specifically Islamophobia?" Brennan asked Mulvaney. "Because a number of world leaders did. And the president didn't."

Mulvaney responded that Trump communicates in his own way:

"I don't think anybody can -- can claim that Donald Trump hasn't done exactly what we would want him to do in this circumstance. We've immediately reached out to our allies. We've expressed the absolute disgust at the tragic -- at the tragic events. We're doing what presidents are supposed to do.

“That doesn't mean it's going to make everybody happy because of the hyper-partisan times we live in. But, again, I really -- it frustrates me, just as a citizen, that everything -- something -- every time something goes wrong around the world now, not just in our country, somehow, the president of the United States must be responsible," Mulvaney said.

"And that's just -- that's absurd, and it doesn't help contribute to the dialogue that's necessary to fix these problems."

Brennan told Mulvaney that Trump, as president of the United States, "carries a megaphone louder than anyone in the world, and arguably this president likes to use his." She noted that Trump, during his presidential campaign, called for a ban on all Muslims entering the U.S., and -- "He said Islam hates us."

"This kind of language in the past leads to these questions of, why isn't the president now directly using that megaphone to condemn it?" Brennan asked.

Mulvaney said Trump's words should be separated from his actions:

"Something the president doesn't get hardly any credit for or any attention to is the work he's done in defense of religious minorities all around the world, up to and including Muslims in the Middle East. Some of the religious minorities that are the worst oppressed in the Middle East are some of the ones that this administration has been doing -- going to great lengths to protect.

"So I hear what folks say, 'Oh, Donald Trump said this during the campaign.' Look at what we've done while we've been here. I don't think anybody could say that the president is anti-Muslim."

Immediately following Mulvaney on "Face the Nation," Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, said Trump "is using language that emboldens" white supremacists.

"He's not creating them. They're out there," Kaine said. "And he used the word invaders to characterize people coming to the nation's southern borders, which was exactly the same phrase that the shooter in New Zealand used to characterize the Muslims that he was attacking. That kind of language from the person who probably has the loudest microphone on the planet Earth is hurtful and dangerous, and it tends to incite violence."

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