Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, who is rapidly becoming the new Jared Kushner, now that Jared Kushner is embroiled in too many scandals to be and effective Jared Kushner, has "polishing Donald Trump's boots on television" as one of his many, many administration duties.
On a Sunday after there's been a major white nationalism-based mass murder, that means going to Fox News to again tamp down claims that the sitting U.S. president is himself a white supremacist.
The president is not [chuckles] a white supremacist. I'm not sure how many times we have to say that. And to simply ask the question every time something like this happens overseas, or even domestically, to say oh my goodness it must somehow be the president's fault, speaks to a politicization of everything that I think is undermining sort of the institutions we have in the country today.
You know you're winning, as a chief of staff, when you're on television being asked whether your boss is a white supremacist, and when you can reasonably predict you're going to be asked that same question "every time something like this"—an act of murderous white supremacist terrorism—"happens." And Mulvaney may be hedging things in his chuckling insistence that Trump is not a "white supremacist", when the more commonly phrased question is whether Trump and the rest of the White House has been actively pursuing policies of white nationalism—a charge that Mulvaney would be more hard-pressed to deny.
But it should be noted that questions on the extent to which the Trump White House can be held partially responsible for the New Zealand attacks did not surface out of the blue. The New Zealand terrorist who murdered 50 worshippers and injured dozens more at a Christchurch mosque explicitly praised Trump as a "symbol of white identity" in his U.S.-centric would-be manifesto, referencing in the rambling hodgepodge a large number of favored Trump arguments and phrases.
So yes, the White House was expecting the question when it dispatched Mulvaney, and the acting chief of staff had, one assumes, rehearsed his response.