The morning after the horrific mass shootings at two Muslim mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand — a massacre that left 49 people dead, according to a CNN report — Fox News interviewed one of Donald Trump’s 2016 foreign policy advisers, Walid Phares, who called the motives of the alleged killer “understandable… on a political level.”
The alleged mass shooter, named as 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, according to USA Today, posted a “manifesto” online which he titled The Great Replacement. In the manifesto, the author details his white supremacist ideology, railing against “immigrants” and their “fertility rate,” which he claims will lead to “genocide” against white people.
In the document, as Inquisitr reported, the author also praised Donald Trump as a “symbol of renewed white identity,” and states that prominent Trump supporter Candace Owens was his greatest ideological inspiration.
In the Fox News interview, the 61-year-old Phares — a frequent guest on the cable news network — appeared to sympathize with the shooter’s “political” motives, while condemning the shooting as an “action.”
“It is very understandable what he is trying to do on a political level,” Phares told Fox News interviewer Bill Hemmer, as quoted by Talking Points Memo. “Obviously it’s horrific and it should be condemned completely on the action level.”
Fox analyst: NZ is now joining countries fighting terrorism "from extremists on all sides." … "It's very understandable what [the shooter] was trying to do on a political level, obviously it's horrific and should be condemned completely on the action level."
— Lis Power (@LisPower1) March 15, 2019
In 2016, Trump named Phares to his foreign policy advisory team, identifying him as a “counterterrorism” expert. But as The Washington Post pointed out, what Trump did not say publicly was that Phares “was once a leading ideologue in an armed Christian faction during Lebanon’s grim, bloody sectarian civil conflict of the 1980s.”
According to a 2011 Mother Jones investigative report, Phares “trained Lebanese militants in ideological beliefs justifying the war against Lebanon’s Muslim and Druze factions.”
The ideological training given to the militias by Phares was used as justification for numerous atrocities against Lebanese Muslims by the right-wing Christian militia fighters, according to Mother Jones. The most notorious such atrocity was the 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in West Beirut, a slaughter which killed at least 700 people, and by some estimates as many as 3,500, according to a report by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East.
Fox's "news side" responding to the NZ mosque mass shooting by hosting Walid Phares, a leading supporter of Trump's Muslim ban who argues "jihadists are using chain migration to bring more jihadists," and Rep. Peter King, who led hearings on Muslim radicalization in the U.S.. pic.twitter.com/aRZCsT3jUO
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) March 15, 2019
Phares on Friday claimed that his statements in the Fox News interview were distorted by Iranian-backed propaganda.
The #IranRegime & #Ikhwan propaganda are trying to play with my words on FoxNews because I identified an #Islamophobia trend that we need to denounce while they want to control the narrative. They don't have the intellectual power to win this one. More arguments are coming soon
— Walid Phares (@WalidPhares) March 15, 2019
The Washington Post, in its 2016 report on Trump’s announcement of Phares as a foreign policy adviser, noted that while Phares was not directly implicated in any acts of violence, “he was a key thinker and actor in an environment of tremendous atrocity.”
Phares also served as a foreign policy adviser on Mitt Romney’s 2012 Republican presidential campaign, as Yahoo! News reported.