Asked About Anti-Muslim Hate Groups, Spicer Talks About Islamic Terrorism

White House press secretary Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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Asked about a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center detailing a dramatic spike in anti-Muslim hate groups in America, White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday spent most of his answer talking about terrorism committed by Muslims.

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s report, released last week, found a 197 percent increase in anti-Muslim hate groups, and pinned the rise in large part on the rhetoric employed by President Donald Trump during his campaign.

“Is the message in this administration that anti-Semitism is not allowed, xenophobia is not allowed? Anti-Muslim sentiment, within the administration, has the President been forceful about that particular issue?” one reporter asked Spicer after referencing the report’s findings.

“I think that the President, in terms of his desire to combat radical Islamic terrorism, he understands that people who want to express a peaceful position have every right in our Constitution,” he said. “But if you come here or want to express views that seek to do our country, or our people, harm, he is going fight it aggressively, whether it’s domestic acts that are going on here or attempts through people abroad to come into this country.”

“So there is a big difference between preventing attacks and making sure that we keep this country safe, so there is no loss of life and allowing people to express themselves in accordance with our First Amendment. Those are two very, very different, different different things.”

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