When Trump Doesn’t Wait ‘To Get The Facts’ Before Crying Terrorism

President Donald Trump pauses as he answers questions from members of the media in the lobby of Trump Tower, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
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President Donald Trump on Tuesday claimed he delayed a statement explicitly condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis because it took him “a little while to get the facts” about violence that erupted at a white nationalist rally. But the President’s record suggests he is far from concerned about accuracy in such matters.

Trump has been quick to cry “radical Islamic terrorism,” one of his favorite rhetorical devices, even when authorities have not drawn public conclusions on the matter and sometimes eventually conclude the precise opposite.

In June 2016, Trump claimed the gunman who killed dozens at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, “shouted ‘Allah hu Akbar!’ as he slaughtered club-goers,” though that was not confirmed at the time.

Trump in September 2016 described a blast in Manhattan as “a bomb” before the New York Police Department or Fire Department confirmed the nature of the explosion. He appeared to suggest a connection to terrorism, though that was also not confirmed.

“We’ve got to get very tough,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing what’s going on in our world, what’s going on in our country, but we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant and we are going to end it.”

In February, Trump jumped to describe an attacker at the Louvre museum in Paris as a “radical Islamic terrorist” amid an open investigation into the attack before any terrorist organization claimed responsibility.

Trump in June condemned a “terrorist attack in Manila” that authorities later announced was the work of a lone gunman.

“It is really very sad as to what’s going on throughout the world with terror,” Trump said.

Hours later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, but Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the attack was “not an act of terrorism.”

“This incident is confined to the act of one man alone,” he said. “As we have always said.”

Trump in June was also quick to promote an unconfirmed report by Matt Drudge that an attack in London was a “new terror attack,” though at that point U.K. authorities had yet to publicize any conclusions about the incident.

The President has been less quick to respond to incidents where Muslims have been targeted — the killing of two men in Portland, Oregon, who jumped to the defense of a Muslim teenager; a shooting at a mosque in Quebec that left six people dead; numerous acts of vandalism at mosques across the United States — and has typically refrained from such strong condemnation.

It appears crimes committed by white supremacists and hate groups also qualify for the kid-glove treatment in Trump’s book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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