Under Fire, Trump Belatedly Responds To Portland Anti-Muslim Attack

President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Evan Vucci/AP

President Donald Trump on Monday finally addressed the violent bias attack on a Portland train left two dead and one injured.

“The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.”

Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche were brutally murdered and Micah Fletcher was injured after confronting a fellow train passenger who was hurling racial epithets and anti-Muslim slurs at a pair of teenage girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab.

The suspect, Jeremy Joseph Christian, has shared social media posts promoting Nazism, political violence and Trump, according to the Associated Press.

Though the FBI said it’s too early to determine whether the attack qualifies as a federal hate crime, Christian faces intimidation charges—Oregon’s equivalent.

The incident sparked outrage and heartbreak across the country, but it drew no comment from the president until three days after the fact.

Trump’s lack of response to the killings drew criticism, particularly since he sent out a stream of tweets on Sunday upon returning from his first official international trip.

Those messages focused instead on the “fake news media,” which he called “the enemy,” and on the Montana congressional race won last week by a Republican candidate who assaulted a reporter the night before the election. Trump called Greg Gianforte’s victory a “big win” for the GOP.

His Monday tweet condemning the attacks was sent from the official @POTUS account, not the @realdonaldtrump one he typically uses.

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