The acting White House Chief of Staff has pushed back against suggestions President Donald Trump is a white supremacist, telling Fox News there is zero link between Friday’s massacre of 50 Muslims at a Christchurch mosque and the kind of Islamophobic rhetoric spewed by Trump over the past few years.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Mick Mulvaney said “the president is not a white supremacist. I’m not sure how many times we have to say that.”

Mulvaney also denied links between Trump and the proliferation of white nationalist ideologies, like the kind espoused by the Australian man accused of killing scores of worshippers in New Zealand.

Trump took to Twitter after the shooting to express his support for New Zealand, but did not specifically mention the fact the shooter’s victims were Muslim.

In a press conference called to discuss the battle over his US-Mexico border wall – a project which has been slammed as stunningly racist itself – Trump said he saw no evidence of white nationalist groups proliferating worldwide.

“I don’t really,” Trump said. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”

Those statements come after praise for the US President and his ideologies was found in the alleged New Zealand gunman’s manifesto.

Mulvaney’s comments also stand in relief to Trump’s own words, which, at the very least, express severe concerns about the Muslim population.

Trump said “there were very fine people, on both sides” during a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, which saw a white nationalist drive his car into a group of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring others.

Trump was a staunch advocate of the ‘Birther’ movement, which perpetuated the lie that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. As part of that fear-mongering campaign, Trump stoked suspicions among racists that Obama is Muslim. He’s not.

He lied about watching Muslims in New York City cheer on 9/11, called for a flat-out ban on Muslims entering the United States, and employed Steve Bannon, the former chief of alt-right, Islamophobic website Breitbart as a senior advisor.

But Mulvaney says the man who has used one of the most prominent offices in the world to project some of those views isn’t a white supremacist.

Watch a clip below:

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