As Belgium and the world grappled with three attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, which left at least 34 dead and more than 100 injured, the Republican presidential frontrunner known for spouting off whatever pops into his mind called Brussels a "disaster city." While warning that the U.S. can't allow similar tragedies to happen within its borders, Donald Trump talked about the recent attacks as if the affected city allowed them to happen. His comments were clearly controversial, but Trump's response to the Brussels attacks overshadows the incidents themselves at a time when the focus needs to be on the victims.
The presidential hopeful called in a phone interview with Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, saying: "I've been talking about this for a long time, and look at Brussels ... Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime, and now it's a disaster city. It's a total disaster." He made similar statements on the Today Show and on Twitter throughout the morning, and the U.S. media quickly switched focus from covering the attacks to discussing Trump's response to the deadly explosions.
Of course, a presidential candidate's problematic statements about major terrorist attacks should be analyzed, but not immediately after the assault, when the impacted nation is still in turmoil. Trump's thoughts on the Brussels attacks don't need to be immediately addressed — not while victims still face critical injuries or struggle to find safety in the chaos.
Trump's comments were insensitive, but the nation doesn't have to follow in his footsteps by letting him draw attention away from the real issue. There's plenty of time to delve into presidential candidates' responses to the attacks once the dust has settled.
When scores of people are killed and injured in a terrorist attack — no matter where it takes place — they deserve to be the center of attention. The names of the Brussels victims, reaching the triple digits, haven't yet been released, but the world's attention should remain on those killed, hurt, and personally affected by the explosions. Even without knowing their identities, the U.S. can offer support and comfort to the people of the Belgian capital.
Innocent victims lost their lives in explosions meant to spark fear, and Brussels was on lockdown Tuesday as officials tried to piece the city back together. So Trump's inconsiderate rantings can wait; he receives enough attention as it is. Let's keep the focus those who's lives have either been taken or forever changed because of the violent assaults.