Dear Donald Trump: The London Attack is a Tragedy, Not a Political Opportunity

Seven people died and about 50 were wounded in a terrorist attack in London yesterday, but Donald Trump didn’t even wait for the blood to dry before he began using the tragedy as a tool for political action. While the investigation was still underway, he tweeted to millions that we must enact his failed “travel ban” — his exact words — to prevent similar attacks in the U.S.

TravelBanTrumpLondon

This was Trump’s first response to the tragedy. His second was more traditional, offering assistance to London and saying “GOD BLESS!

With his next tweet, however, he went back to fear-mongering (and back to his real political agenda).


That was followed by an incredibly strange move: he actually attacked the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, who is himself a Muslim.


The worst part about this tweet isn’t that it insults the mayor of the city that was just attacked, nor is it the demagoguery at the heart of Trump’s comments. It’s that he mischaracterized the mayor’s statement. To use a phrase Trump would understand, this is “FAKE NEWS!”

Khan actually said he was “appalled and furious” about the attack and was telling citizens not to be concerned about an increased police presence.

Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed. One of the things the police, all of us, need to do is make sure we’re as safe as we possibly can be. I’m reassured that we are one of the safest global cities in the world, if not the safest global city in the world, but we always evolve and review ways to make sure that we remain as safe as we possibly can.

In his (hopefully) final tweet on the subject, Trump took yet another political angle to the tragedy. Reviving the Second Amendment debate, he pointed out that the attackers used “knives and a truck” as opposed to guns.


He may not have realized that statement could also be used as an indictment of guns. If the terrorists had easier access to them, who knows how much more damage they could have done?

This has all happened within the last 15 hours, while we knew (and still know) almost nothing about the developments. After his tweets, we found out that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the London attack, but that the group “offered nothing to back the claim.”

Trump has been widely criticized for his reaction to the tragedy, including by religious studies scholar and Muslim apologist Reza Aslan. He called Trump a “piece of shit” and “an embarrassment to America” for politicizing the tragedy while families are in grieving.

I’m disappointed in Trump (I don’t know what I expected), but he’s not even the only politician using this tragedy to justify a political agenda. Prime Minister Theresa May joined in, calling for regulations on the internet in the wake of the London bridge attack.

Trump had an opportunity here: he could have chosen to show us how he can handle a tragedy of this magnitude in a presidential manner. Instead he chose to seize a different opportunity. Without having any information, he politicized the event in order to promote his anti-Muslim, pro-gun agendas.

The good news is I’m not the only one who noticed Trump has become what he always railed against: a politician. If you don’t believe me, just search “London” and “political agenda” on Twitter.

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