Donald Trump Jr. took to Twitter to respond to the New Zealand massacre with an attack on the media, blaming outlets for sharing the suspect’s name.
The president’s eldest son was responding to reports that a heavily armed man attacked two mosques in Christchurch, opening fire against Muslim worshipers in an attack that has left at least 49 dead. As The Guardian reported, the alleged attacker posted his plans on a number of far-right message boards including 8chan and Voat, where white supremacists allegedly often congregate. His alleged manifesto also shared hatred toward Muslims, who he saw as invaders in his country, and expressed admiration for Donald Trump.
The shooter also posted live stream video of the attack that allegedly showed the attack in full as he killed unarmed men, women, and children inside the mosque.
The attack has prompted a worldwide reaction, including President Donald Trump who tweeted a message of condolence for the victims.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured,” Trump tweeted. “The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
But Donald Trump’s son shared a more combative statement shortly after the attack, laying blame on the media as he predicted they would share the name of the suspect.
“Don’t give the POS NZ shooter what he wants. Don’t speak his name don’t show the footage. Seems that most agree on that,” Trump Jr. tweeted. “The questions [sic] is can the media do what’s right and pass up the ratings they’ll get by doing the opposite? I fear we all know the answer unfortunately.”
The tweet drew an immediate backlash, with many noting that President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media have led to violence in the past, including an ardent supporter who is accused of mailing bombs to members of the media who have become targets for Trump attacks. Others noted that right-wing media outlets like The Gateway Pundit were sharing graphic pictures and video of the New Zealand massacre.
UPDATE: At least 49 people were killed in shootings at two mosques in New Zealand, police say.— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 15, 2019
A man in his late 20s was charged with murder. Three other people are in custody. pic.twitter.com/DwcXgF6IUS
Social media companies have already taken action to remove the video of the attack. As Fox News reported, Twitter said that it had taken down the account of the alleged perpetrator and was working to remove videos of the attack. Facebook also issued a statement offering condolences to the families of those killed and noted that it had removed the live stream video posted by the attacker.