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Here’s A Roundup Of Trump’s Responses (And Non-Responses) To Terrorist Attacks

The president’s stalled and ultimately unsatisfying response to the violence in Charlottesville is part of a pattern.

Here’s A Roundup Of Trump’s Responses (And Non-Responses) To Terrorist Attacks
[Screenshot: The White House]

Following mounting pressure to denounce the white nationalist groups that triggered the violence in Charlottesville this weekend, President Donald Trump finally took to the podium on Monday, delivering a speech in which he called racism “evil” and condemned the “KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

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Until the speech, Trump had offered little more than a feeble, wildly unpresidential condemnation of violence on “many sides,” a remark that was roundly criticized on both sides of the aisle. But should we really be surprised? Trump’s tenure as president has been riddled with anemic responses to terror attacks, both domestic and international.

Below, we’ve compiled some of his most damning responses–and non-responses–since he took office in January.

Quebec City Mosque Shooting, January 2017

Response time: Never

Trump gave no public comment after an attack that claimed the lives of six people at a mosque in Quebec City. (He did make a call to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offering his condolences.) Kellyanne Conway defended Trump, noting that he “doesn’t tweet about everything” but was “sympathetic to any loss of life.”

Kansas Bar Shooting, February 2017

Response time: Less than a week

Trump was completely silent after a racially motivated shooting occurred that killed an Indian man and injured another at a bar outside Kansas City. Six days later, he addressed the incident in passing—along with recent instances of anti-Semitic vandalism—during his first address to Congress:

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Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.

New York City Stabbing, March 2017

Response time: Never

When a black man was stabbed in Trump’s hometown, Trump did not acknowledge the incident. (The suspect, who was from Baltimore, told police he had come to New York to specifically attack black men to “make a statement.”) Trump’s silence was particularly deafening, given how New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio were vocal on the issue. He did, however, tweet about an American killed in a terror attack in London two days later:

Champs Élysées Shooting, April 2017

Response time: Less than a day

Trump is usually more forthcoming in his responses to attacks that he can attribute to “radical Islamic terrorism.” On April 20, a gunman opened fire on the Champs Élysées in Paris and killed a police officer; ISIS took credit for the attack.

Trump addressed the incident and extended his condolences when asked about it during a news conference with Italy’s prime minister. He also took to Twitter the next day:

College Park, Maryland, Stabbing, May 2017

Response time: Never

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Trump had nothing to say when a black man was stabbed by a white student at the University of Maryland. The perpetrator was in a Facebook group that reportedly published white supremacist content.

Manchester Bombing, May 2017

Response time: Less than a day

Trump was quick to respond after a bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester killed 22 and injured almost three times as many people. (Again, ISIS took credit for the attack.) He dubbed the perpetrators “evil losers” in a news conference the next day:

So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives, murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are. They’re losers, and we’ll have more of them. But they’re losers. Just remember that.

Portland Stabbing, May 2017

Response time: Less than a week (but maybe never)

Two men were attacked and killed on a train when they tried to silence an anti-Muslim rant against two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab. (A third man was injured but survived.) Trump was silent on the issue for three days, after which the official POTUS Twitter account sent out the following tweet:

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It isn’t clear whether Trump himself sent out that tweet, given he has insisted on continuing to tweet from his personal account.

London Attacks, June 2017

Response time: Less than a day

Trump’s first response to an attack in London that killed eight people was to push his policy agenda:

Later, he talked gun control:

In between, Trump managed to eke out a more appropriate tweet:

Trump also issued a distasteful tweet in which he misconstrued comments made by London mayor Sadiq Khan; later, he doubled down on his criticism of Khan. This is something of a pattern—but perhaps that’s not much of a surprise, given that Khan is the city’s first Muslim mayor.

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Minnesota Mosque Bombing, August 2017

Response time: Never

Ten days after a bomb exploded at a mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, Trump has said nothing. Given his usual response time—and his unprecedented comment on the Charlottesville riots—it’s safe to assume that Trump won’t spend any of his precious characters addressing this.

Meanwhile, he has said this:

So much for that condemnation.

About the author

Pavithra Mohan is an assistant editor for Fast Company Digital. Her writing has previously been featured in Gizmodo and Popular Science magazine.

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