Halloween festivities took a tragic turn in New York City after a man in a rental truck struck and killed eight people — including five Argentines and a Belgian — on a bike path in Lower Manhattan. The attacker also injured 11 people before crashing his vehicle into a school bus.
Police detain the alleged suspect, identified as 29-year-old Uzbek national Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, following the carnage.
The authorities called the incident an “act of terror.”
Given that the suspect isn’t white, President Donald Trump was quick to condemn the attack, calling the suspect a “very sick and deranged person” yet offering no condolences whatsoever to the families of victims.
In NYC, looks like another attack by a very sick and deranged person. Law enforcement is following this closely. NOT IN THE U.S.A.!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2017
Almost an hour later, he suggested ISIS was behind the attack.
It is important to note this tweet came out several hours before the authorities reportedly found a note about the extremist organization in the suspect’s vehicle.
We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2017
Actor Kal Penn had the perfect response:
The terrorist is from a country called Uzbekistan, part of Russia & the Soviet Union for the last 200 years before independence in 1991. https://t.co/gB4gAQ4okQ— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) October 31, 2017
The commander-in-chief finally remembered to offer his condolences to those affected by the attack about half an hour after tweeting about not letting terrorists into the United States.
My thoughts, condolences and prayers to the victims and families of the New York City terrorist attack. God and your country are with you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 31, 2017
Shortly after the authorities revealed Saipov was a green card holder who had moved to the U.S. in 2010, Trump announced he would make the U.S. vetting program even more intense for immigrants from certain countries.
I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 1, 2017
While the NYC attack does warrant a strong response, why does Trump always use such incidents — particularly where the perpetrator is not white — to further his xenophobic and hateful rhetoric?
This is not the first time the president has been quick to criticize a religious or racial minority before the officials have released all the key details.
For instance, earlier this year, when a van driver plowed into dozens of people in Barcelona, Spain, killing at least 13 people and leaving 80 injured, Trump immediately called it a “terrorist attack” and vowed that the United States will do “whatever is necessary to help.”
The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
He followed that up by tweeting about “radical Islam” using a hateful, debunked myth.
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
A month later, Trump touted the importance of his Islamophobic travel ban, which targeted six Muslim-majority countries at the time, while condemning the Parsons Green underground station bombing in London.
The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 15, 2017
Now, compare these rushed responses to how the president reacted after a white gunman, Stephen Paddock, opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada, and killed 58 people while leaving 546 injured.
My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 2, 2017
It was the deadliest mass shooting the U.S. had witnessed in recent history and Trump responded by offering his “warmest” sympathies.
After a white supremacist brutally murdered two heroic men and stabbed the third on a Portland train for protecting two young girls, one of whom was Muslim and the other African American, it took Trump more than two days to acknowledge the attack — and that too after tweeting about everything else under the sun.
The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.— President Trump (@POTUS) May 29, 2017
After a far right mass shooter left six people dead and 19 injured at Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec, Canada, several news outlets quickly labeled the shooter as a Muslim. At the time, the White House immediately tried to cash in on the baseless accusations and used it to justify Trump’s unconstitutional executive ban on immigrants from Muslim countries.
However, once the authorities identified the shooter as French Canadian Alexandre Bissonnette — who also turned out to be a Trump supporter — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it a “terrorist attack on Muslims,” there was no tweet from Trump denouncing the incident.
Was it because the suspect turned out to be white instead of a person of color or an immigrant?
Trump also remained quite when white supremacist James Harris Jackson fatally stabbed a black homeless man in Manhattan in a racially motivated attack in March.
It also took him six days to condemn Adam W. Purinton, who shot two Indian engineers in Kansas City after yelling “Get out of my country.”
It is utterly outrageous how Trump uses such tragic attacks to demonize the entire Muslim community, especially when the suspect is not white.
On the other hand, when a suspect is white, there are no calls to control domestic terrorism or monitoring the white supremacists. Trump’s controversial response to the deadly Virginia rally, where a white nationalist allegedly killed an anti-racism protester, is a testament to that.
Brown guy kills 8 with a truck: “WALLS! BANS! BARRICADES!”— shauna (@goldengateblond) October 31, 2017
White guy kills 59 with guns: “well what can you do”
Meanwhile, although officials believe the NYC suspect, who had two imitation firearms at the time of the attack, yelled “Allahu Akbar,” which is an Arabic phrase for “God is Great,” before an officer shot him in the abdomen, nothing has yet been confirmed. The authorities have not linked the incident to any religious or extremist organization so far.
The FBI has now taken over the investigation.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Thaier Al-Sudani