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Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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Donald Trump must curb his harsh and divisive speech in the wake of this week’s tragic deadly mosque attacks in New Zealand, according to a former moderate Republican member of Congress.
Some 49 were left dead after terrorists attacked mosques in the New Zealand city of Christhurch. The rampage reportedly was spurred by white supremacist terrorists hateful of immigration.
The attack has led many to seek root causes and end the influences fueling such hate–both within the United States and globally.
“Maybe we need to hear a little less from the president in terms of his rather incendiary, inflammatory rhetoric on racial or ethnic matters,” said former Rep. Charlie Dent, who had become a prominent moderate voice in Congress when he represented his Pennsylvania district from 2005 until his resignation in 2018.
“I think that has been very destructive for the country. We saw it in Charlottesville, we heard the comments about Mexicans being rapists and the judge from Indiana who is a Mexican,” Dent added, referring to a rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., which turned deadly, after which Trump defended both sides, including the neo-Nazis.
“He made all kinds of comments over the years that have been very, very unhelpful, you know, the way he’s talked about Muslims in the past. So I think sometimes we need to hear the president talk in a more unifying way,” Dent added. “He likes to stoke things up, he likes to divide. I’m not blaming him for what happened in New Zealand, but at the same time, our leader are expected to engage in some rhetoric. They try to calm things down and not incite. You know, this horrible tragedy in New Zealand, it’s just unthinkable, somebody going to a place of worship on a Friday and murder or kill nearly 100 people, or injure nearly 100 people. It’s just horrific and leaders have to stand up and lead, and not be dividers.”
As it relates to the New Zealand massacre, Trump did make a brief statement.
“It’s a horrible thing. I saw it early in the morning when I looked at what was happening in New Zealand,” Trump said. “I just spoke, as you know, to the Prime Minister [of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern]. I think it’s a horrible, disgraceful thing and a horrible act.”