November 2, 2017

‘Stunning difference’ between Trump responses to terror attacks

By Safya Khan-Ruf, journalist

The Las Vegas and New York attacks drew sharply differing reactions from the President, revealing a lopsided approach to mass killings.

The morning after Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded more than 500 others at a country music concert, Donald Trump stated from the diplomatic room of the White House:

“In moments of tragedy and horror, America comes together as one – and it always has.”

He had already sent a message of condolence a little less than six hours after the attack:

“My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”

Several days later he visited Las Vegas, offering his support for first responders and those who had been wounded.

But when it came to solutions, he offered little more than looking at gun control laws “as time goes by”.

Trump was also asked whether the shooting was an act of domestic terrorism. He declined to answer.

On October 4, in Las Vegas, Trump was again asked about possible legislative action on guns.

“We’re not going to talk about that today,” he responded. “We won’t talk about that.”

New York

Within hours of the attack in New York on Tuesday, in which an Uzbek man mowed down cyclists and pedestrians along a Manhattan bike path, killing eight people,  Trump tweeted.

He followed up with a second tweet.

Then there was a third tweet.

On November 1 he tweeted again.

Before adding: “We are fighting hard for Merit Based immigration, no more Democrat Lottery Systems. We must get MUCH tougher (and smarter). @foxandfriends”

He then said he was going to ask Congress to terminate the diversity lottery program.

Trump also reiterated his call that the Uzbek immigrant should get the death penalty.

Contrasts

About the Las Vegas shooter, Trump said: “The wires were crossed pretty badly in his brain. Extremely badly in his brain. And it’s a very sad event.”

Of the man alleged to have committed the attack in NYC, he said: “This animal who did the attacking.”

Many are now asking: why does one attack represent an existential threat from radical terrorists that must be addressed, while the other — much deadlier — is just something that happens?