President Donald Trump managed to anger two of the United States’ key allies after a particularly distasteful speech at the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Texas.
In an attempt to underscore the futility of gun control, the commander-in-chief argued that gun laws could not prevent the 2015 Paris shooting and also said the United Kingdom had witnessed a spike in knife attacks.
Trump went on to point his hand as if it were a gun and started to reenact the Paris shooting.
"They took their time and gunned them down one by one — boom, come over here, boom, come over here, boom," he said.
Trump continued his nonsensical reasoning, asserting if the Parisians at had been armed, the shooter could have been overcome.
"If one employee or just one patron had a gun, or if one person in this room had been there with a gun, aimed at the opposite direction, the terrorists would have fled or been shot. And it would have been a whole different story," said Trump.
Trump also slammed the gun laws in the U.K., saying they did nothing to save people from becoming the targets of knife attacks. In his typical hyperbolic manner, Trump compared a London hospital to a war zone after knife victims were brought in.
"They don't have guns. They have knives and instead there's blood all over the floors of this hospital. They say it's as bad as a military war zone hospital ... knives, knives, knives. London hasn't been used to that. They're getting used to that. It's pretty tough,” he added.
The comments, which belittled a national tragedy, drew anger from both countries.
The French foreign ministry condemned the comments in a statement.
"France expresses its firm disapproval of President Trump's remarks ... and calls for the respect of the memory of the victims," it said.
In a tweet, Francois Hollande, who was the French President during the 2015 shooting, tweeted: "Donald Trump's shameful remarks and obscene histrionics say a lot about what he thinks of France and its values. The friendship between our two peoples will not be tainted by disrespect and excessiveness. All my thoughts go to the victims of November 13."
Les propos honteux et les simagrées obscènes de Donald Trump en disent long sur ce qu’il pense de la France et de ses valeurs. L’amitié entre nos deux peuples ne sera pas entachée par l’irrespect et l’outrance. Toutes mes pensées vont aux victimes du 13 novembre.— François Hollande (@fhollande) May 5, 2018
The French ambassador to the United States, in a pointed attack at America’s lax gun laws, tweeted:
#bataclan “The statistics of the people killed by guns don’t convince France to change its guns laws”. Declaration of the French MFA.— Gérard Araud (@GerardAraud) May 5, 2018
While the mayor of London refused to comment on Trump’s remarks, former U.K. Minister Charlie Falconer reminded POTUS of some significant facts.
“U.S. murder rate over 5 times higher than the U.K.'s. There isn't a person in the whole world (with the possible exception of the president of the U.S., and he's probably lying) who believes the way to reduce our murder rate is to make it easier to get guns,” he said.
While making the knife crime comment, Trump was apparently referring to a comment Dr. Martin Griffiths, a surgeon at the Royal Hospital, made to BBC 4 a month ago, where he admitted his hospital was likened to an Afghan war zone.
Even Dr. Griffiths responded to Trump’s speech, lamenting the POTUS had missed the point.
Happy to invite Mr Trump to my (prestigious) hospital to meet with our mayor and police commissioner to discuss our successes in violence reduction in London @SadiqKhan @metpoliceuk @NHSBartsHealth #WindrushAwards pic.twitter.com/G4vYqTkfbL— Martin P Griffiths (@martinpgriff) May 5, 2018
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Lucas Jackson