President Donald Trump's first response after hearing an ally was under attack and the threat had not entirely subsided was not to promise complete and unequivocal support, offer sympathy or take a moment to reflect upon the climate of fear and hostility that the world has been thrust into.
Instead, Trump decided to retweet a dubious "news outlet" not particularly famed for its credibility — but then again, the president himself is not famed for following credible news sources.
Trump retweeted the Drudge Report, a conservative news outlet notorious for its sensationalism.
Seventeen minutes after Trump shared information that had not been confirmed by any legitimate source, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tweeted:
The tweet was later deleted.
We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2017
What disgusted, but did not surprise, citizens and political pundits was the shameless opportunism that followed.
Trump used an international tragedy, loss of human lives, to make an unnecessary point about his Islamophobic travel ban. His rhetoric of hate, like that of many leaders before him, preyed on the fear and frenzy of the masses.
spicer: it's not a ban— David Mack (@davidmackau) January 31, 2017
reporter: but the president called it a ban
spicer: it's not
reporter: is he confused or u?
spicer: i'm not confused pic.twitter.com/i4wWuuZ7JT
Even as Trump called his ban on traveling from six predominantly Muslim majority countries a travel ban, the White House scrambled to prove that it was, in fact, not a ban. Sean Spicer lost his cool during a press briefing and said that Trump's ban was actually just "extreme vetting." The linguistic gymnastic was hopefully put to rest with Donald Trump's tweet after the attack.
Glad we both agree the ban is a ban. https://t.co/p1qXkffyIL— ACLU National (@ACLU) June 4, 2017
It was after some time that the POTUS realized he should also like, you know, send his best wishes.
Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there - WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2017
Also worth noting here is the timing of Trump's tweet.
Not two weeks ago, two men were brutally murdered in Portland, Oregon, at the hands of a know white supremacist while trying to stand up against racial abuse on a commuter train. Another man was injured in the incident.
Despite the fact that the POTUS is infamous for tweeting about the pettiest of things — reality shows, etc. — he failed to write a few words for the Portland attack victims, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, for more than two days after the tragedy.
It wasn't until people shamed him that Trump released an official statement.
What's more, after the Portland stabbing suspect, Jeremy Christian, appeared in court and defiantly called the cold-blooded murders an act of "patriotism," Trump failed to even once address the current threat of white supremacist terrorism.
It's blatantly hypocritical considering this is the same president, who is known for swiftly condemning radical Islamic terrorism in other countries (without sufficient proof), but hasn't yet denounced white terrorism, despite the fact that three people had been killed by suspected white supremacists in the same week as the Portland attack.
Fortunately, a lot of people have called out Trump's double standards on Twitter:
Trump hasn't tweeted a word about the white supremacist murders in College Park or Portland. But London has him calling for a travel ban.— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 4, 2017
Note how quickly Donald Trump politicized London but how long he took to send one single tweet about the white supremacist in Portland.— Gabe Ortíz (@TUSK81) June 3, 2017
Why we also need to name white supremacist terrorism and take it seriously. Right, President Trump? https://t.co/yj74VvXVe4— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) June 4, 2017
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters