A White House adviser has claimed the Minnesota mosque bombing may have been a left-wing plot as he sought to deflect criticism of Donald Trump, who has yet to comment on what others have described as “an act of terrorism”.
An improvised explosive device was thrown through the window of the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Centre on 5 August, though no one was injured.
Mr Trump has yet to make a public statement about the attack.
Defending the President on MSNBC, White House deputy adviser Sebastian Gorka said he had not yet commented because the ideological motivation for the bombing was not clear.
He said: “There’s a great rule: all initial reports are false.
“You have to check them; you have to find out who the perpetrators are.
“We’ve had a series of crimes committed—alleged hate crimes by right-wing individuals in the last six months—that turned out to actually have been propagated by the left.
“So let’s wait and see, let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessments, and then the White House will make its comments.”
Minnesota’s governor, Mark Dayton, has called the bombing an “act of terrorism”.
Rick Thornton, the FBI’s lead agent in the case, said: “While it is fortunate that no lives were lost, and the physical damage is reparable, the FBI recognises the pain and anger of our communities anytime a place of worship is attacked and we will work hard to hold those responsible accountable.”
And the Department of Homeland Security said it “fully supports the rights of all to freely and safely worship the faith of their choosing and we vigorously condemn such attacks on any religious institution”.
Muslim leaders have invited Mr Trump see the damage in person, and to “come here and at least express his feelings and say this is bad”.
The President been quick to comment on other terrorist attacks.
On 3 June, in the moments following the London Bridge attrocity, Mr Trump retweeted an unconfirmed Drudge Report message claiming 20 people had been mown down by a van.
He then sent a string of controversial messages criticising the response of London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan.
A few days later he also retweeted a Fox News video report on a hostage siege in Melbourne for which Isis had claimed responsibility.
Mr Gorka is a former Fox News contributor and editor at the right-wing news outlet Breitbart.
He was first brought to the White House to sit on the Strategic Initiatives Group, an advisory panel set up by Mr Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon to run alongside…