President Donald Trump may be notoriously anti-book, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t members of his administration who don’t want the American public to get reading. Unfortunately, the literature being hawked by top White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Monday is alleged New Zealand killer Brenton Tarrant’s 74-page white nationalist manifesto.
Appearing on Fox News in the wake of the New Zealand mosque shootings, Conway defended Trump by distancing the president from Tarrant’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric—which, evidently, is nothing like Trump’s anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Here’s Conway, spinning as hard as she possibly can (emphasis mine):
Unlike most mass shootings, this man came with pre-receipts, if you will. He put out a 70-page manifesto, and I guess everybody scoured it, searched for Donald Trump’s name, and there it is one time. But he also said he aligns closely with the ideology of China. He said he’s not a conservative, he’s not a Nazi. I think he referred to himself as an ‘eco-naturalist,’ or an ‘eco-fascist.’ But people should read the entire...in its entirety.
Let’s be extremely clear about what’s happening here: One of the White House’s most public figures is working to divert attention away from her boss’ obvious racism by urging the public to seek out and read a white nationalist manifesto designed for maximum virality. This is like pouring gasoline on a grease fire to distract people from the fact that the chef has no idea how to cook in the first place.
The White House, meanwhile, has spent the past several days desperately seeking to minimize the fact that Trump was called out, by name, in the manifesto. Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney insisted this weekend that Trump “is not a white supremacist,” while Trump himself downplayed the rising surge of White Nationalism that’s occurred on his watch as something that might be a problem overseas, but not in the United States.
But if Conway’s appearance on Monday is any indication, the Trump administration has absolutely no problem exposing people to a racist ideology, just so long as they’re not blamed for any racism that might occur as a result.