It started as just another sympathetic tweet from a politician in the wake of a tragedy. It ended up sparking social media accolades and criticism as Twitter users battled it out in response to a tweet from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel.
Nessel on Friday opened the conversation with a relatively generic statement.
“My thoughts are with the wounded and families who lost their loved ones in New Zealand last night,” she tweeted.
“THIS is why I opened a Hates Crimes Unit in Michigan and THIS is why we must use all resources available to protect our Muslim brothers and sisters, and all minorities in our state.”
In response, Barbara Raymond, another Twitter user who is a self-described supporter of President Donald Trump with “MAGA” in her bio, hit back.
“I wonder if you will show the same compassion to Christians, Jews, Trump supporters, etc.?” Raymond asked in a reply.
Nessel responded quickly, sparing conversation by asking the question of why worrying about the protection of Trump supporters would be the first thing to come to mind in the discussion of a tragic shooting that left dozens of Muslim worshippers dead in New Zealand this week.
“Maybe your are part of the problem, Barbara,” Nessel closed.
If your first thought upon reading this tweet is “why aren’t we doing more to protect Trump supporters?” then maybe you are part of the problem, Barbara.— Dana Nessel (@dananessel) March 15, 2019
The Twitter exchange sparked quite a bit of discussion, with almost 200 people weighing in to add their thoughts in addition to hundreds of likes and retweets immediately following the back-and-forth between the two women.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and advisor, likewise sparked conversation and controversy as she herself attempted to acknowledge the tragedy on Twitter, as The Inquisitr reported previously. Many responded in opposition to the tweet, indicating that her father’s role in promoting and protecting the kinds of right-wing ideologies espoused by the shooter in New Zealand limited her ability to speak with any moral authority on the issue.
You should thank your daddy for inciting hate and violence towards Muslims and people of color!— Hear Me Roar (@Stop_Trump20) March 15, 2019
Prove us wrong Ivanka and show us that you care! Use your voice and help children that are locked up in cages! pic.twitter.com/DCGgT6gXV3
The president himself has faced criticism in the wake of the tragedy, with many opponents pointing out that while he has acknowledged the incident, he has deliberately sidestepped the issue of the role of white nationalism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigration sentiments in contributing to the attack.
Trump called the shooting “horrible,” but would not label the perpetrator a terrorist or significantly denounce white nationalism as a contributing cause, despite explicit references to both in the shooter’s personal manifesto, which has now been made public. Additionally, Trump echoed the shooter’s language of an “invasion” of immigrants even as he denounced the shooting itself.