BEDFORD — In a sharp departure from his traditionally laser-like focus on climate change, 2020 presidential contender Washington Gov. Jay Inslee used a Saturday morning Granite State appearance to accuse President Donald Trump of being in league with the white nationalist elements behind a deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand.
While addressing a packed house party hosted by the Bedford Democratic Committee, Inslee addressed the events that left 49 people dead at the hands of an active shooter with apparent ties to white nationalism.
Stating that the American people deserved a President who would “call us to the better angels of our nature” and resist the hate that motivated the attacks, Inslee charged that the Trump administration had failed to do enough to rebuke the voices of radicalism.
“I feel very strongly that among all of the depredations of the current occupants of the White House, perhaps the worst is to take rank with those who want to spread fear and division across the world.”
“And for him to talk about invaders the day people were shot in New Zealand, was entirely unacceptable,” said Inslee, in apparent reference to comments Pres. Trump made while vetoing a bipartisan Congressional resolution to block his national emergency declaration to build a barrier on parts of the southern border.
“People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is,” said Trump during Friday’s veto ceremony.
Inslee told the Union Leader that Trump continually looks for “dog whistles to spread hate,” and while he stopped short of saying the President’s rhetoric is a motivating factor behind acts of violence like the ones in New Zealand, Inslee stated that Trump’s rhetoric was akin to “pouring gasoline” and “handing out matches”.
“I would say that if you’re concerned about arson, you probably should be against a guy who spreads gasoline on the floor of a church, or a mosque, or a synagogue and then hands out matches. I think that’s a bad idea. He is continually allowing the forces of fear and hatred to remain abroad in our country, we need better.”
In the wake of the attacks, Pres. Trump expressed his condolences to the victims and labeled the acts as a "horrible massacre."
Later, when asked by a reporter whether he thought white nationalism was a growing threat, Trump responded "I don't really," and instead described the strain as a "small group of people that have very, very serious problems."
The governor devoted the bulk of his address to his pet issue of addressing climate change, a task he says should be “the number one priority of the United States of America.”
Stating his belief that it’s America’s “destiny” to lead the world to a clean energy future, Inslee called for a green energy policy that mirrored the country’s effort to put a man on the moon.
“The country that went to the moon; the country that defeated fascism; the country that made the first commercial jet airliner in Seattle, and the first artificial kidney machine and invented the $4 cup of coffee — that is a country that can develop a clean energy economy.”