Trump Should Stop Tweeting About Orlando

The worst mass shooting in U.S. history took place on Sunday when a gunman killed 50 people and injured over 50 more in a gay night club in Orlando. Politicians of all stripes reacted to the killings on Twitter — and unfortunately, Donald Trump was one of them. After sending off a few initial tweets that were characteristically disgraceful, Trump kept tweeting about the Orlando shooting with just as much shamelessness. If he cares about either his own political self-interests (debatable) or common human decency (doubtful), he needs to cut it out now.

Sadly, yet predictably, the presumptive Republican nominee for president found a way to make the shootings all about himself, proclaiming that he "appreciate[s] the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism." After that, Trump said that President Obama should "resign in disgrace," because he didn't use the term "radical Islamic terrorism" to describe the attacks. Trump finished off by calling American leadership "weak and ineffective" and reiterating that he wants to ban all Muslims from entering the US.

The shooter was an American, so a Muslim ban — in addition to being reprehensible and patently un-American — would have done nothing to prevent the shooting. This, combined with Trump's erroneous and unconfirmed claim that the gunman shouted during the shootings, makes it seem suspiciously as if the real estate tycoon is more concerned with stoking anti-Islamic sentiment than, well, anything else.

While Trump made sure to remind everyone, repeatedly, that the shooter was a practitioner of Islam, he made no mention of the fact that the shooting took place at a gay club. The fact that killer apparently targeted LGBT Americans specifically was not relevant to Trump, because hey, that's not his brand. Trump focused only on the shooter's religion.

It's not at all surprising that Trump reacted to this horrific act of violence by acting like the egotistical Islamophobe that he is. The only difference this time was degree: Trump has made national tragedies all about himself in the past, but this may have been the first time he used a mass slaughter to remind people of his own prescience and foresight. It remains unclear who, if anyone, offered Trump "congrats" for his anti-Muslim fear-mongering.

Trump's reaction to the shooting, in addition to being tasteless and offensive, is not politically unhelpful to him. Sure, it probably appeals to a lot of the people who already support him, but Trump's challenge in this election, as evidenced by his persistent deficit in the polls, isn't retaining his base. It's expanding it. Absolutely nothing he said today will help him do that, and if anything, his comments were counterproductive on that front. The theory that Trump is intentionally trying to lose this election is looking better and better by the day.