A Tale of Three Terrorist Attacks.
Incident #1 August 12, Charlottesville, Virginia: A nazi white supremacist domestic terrorist plows a car into a crowd of people killing 1, injuring 19.
President’s first response, blame both sides:
“We all must be united and condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Let’s come together as one! We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
After criticism for blaming both sides, Trump reluctantly tried to make amends:
“To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully accountable. Justice will be delivered. Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
The President then goes back to equating the sides notoriously declaring there “were very fine people, on both sides.” He takes the side of the White Supremacists on the substantive issue they were protesting, the removal of Confederate statues stating:
“many of those people were there to protest the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. So this week it’s Robert E. Lee. I noticed that Stonewall Jackson is coming down. I wonder, is it George Washington next week? And is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know, you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?”
A week later he would parrot the White Supremacist line that those seeking to remove the statues of honoring men involved in a treasonous insurrection against the United States are “trying to take away our culture, they’re trying to take away our history.”
When asked if the act was terrorism, the President dodged and refused to answer. The strongest words he was able to summon up to condemn this Nazi was to say he “is a disgrace to himself” and “what he did was a horrible, horrible, inexcusable thing.”
Not once did the President suggest this smeared Nazis, alt-righters, KKKers or racists in general. Nor did he ever suggest the incident indicated a need for some sort of broader government action, such as clamping down on such groups, or even banning nazi sympathizers from entering the United States.
Incident #2 October 1, Las Vegas NV: A well to do white domestic terrorist commits the worst gun mass murder in United States history, killing 58 and wounding nearly 550 people. His motive remains unknown. He planned the operation meticulously and well in advance, carrying over a dozen rifles, many modified with bump stocks to act as fully automatic weapons, into an upper level hotel room which served as a sniper station.
President’s Response: For two days his Twitter is confined to offering condolences to the victims and families. On the third day he does refer to the “demented shooter.” He later seems almost empathic for the poor shooter stating “The wires were crossed pretty badly in his brain. Extremely badly in his brain. And it’s a very sad event.” In Las Vegas he does go so far as to describe the shooter as a “sick demented man” and declares:
“We struggle for the words to explain to our children how such evil can exist, how there can be such cruelty and suffering. But we cannot be defined by the evil that threatens us or the violence that insights such terror.”
Apparently not being defined by such evil means not changing any policies because of it. For nearly a week the President says “we aren’t talking about that” in regard to changing gun laws. He eventually suggests some action might be taken on bump stocks, blaming the Obama Administration for that. Bills in Congress to ban bump stocks die in committee as Republicans suggest action should be taken instead by the Trump Administration by regulation. Nothing has happened.
Incident #3 October 31, New York City: An ISIS inspired Uzbekistan national drives a pick up truck through a bike lane killing 8 and injuring 13.
President’s response: His first response is not even to express condolences. Instead in the minutes after the attack the President tweeted:
Within an hour (still before any condolences) the President’s next tweet quickly politicized the issue and expanded it to policy:
The President then finally found room for a condolence tweet before returning to blatant politicization of the issue scapegoating Senator Schumer by name. In less than 24 hours from the incident, the following additional tweets would follow:
In a cabinet meeting the President declared:
“I am, today, starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program. I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program, diversity lottery, diversity lottery. Sounds nice, it is not nice, it is not good. It hasn’t been good and we have been against it.”
When it came to the Muslim terrorist Trump was quite comfortable to dehumanize him, referring to him as “This animal who did the attacking” while calling for “quick justice and we need strong justice.”
Apparently Trump feels that justice includes skipping the usual due process. He declared the justice system is a “laughing stock” and stated we “ have to come up with a punishment that is far quicker and far greater in the punishment these animals are getting right now.” He said this while threatening to send this perp to Gitmo. The whole due process thing apparently being a constitutional inconvenience.
I would like some of you who imagine yourselves as fair and open minded Trump supporters to examine the difference in speed, tone and intensity of contempt for the bad actor the President has responded to in regards to these three incidents. Also the difference in calls for government action to be taken in response. Then try to sit back and ask yourselves why.
To the best of my knowledge the President has still not directly described Incidents 1 and 2 as terrorism. He did that for Incident #3 within just a couple of hours.
As an additional note, the so-called by the President “Democrat Lottery system” was passed with strong bipartisan support and signed into law by President Bush in 1990. Not that facts matter, this is Trump after all.