Trump's First Comment On The UK Parliament Attack Is Hardly Presidential
On Wednesday afternoon, a harrowing incident took place near London's Westminster Bridge, with reports that multiple pedestrians were struck by a car, and a police officer was stabbed before his assailant was shot. The incident put the British Parliament on lockdown, and forced the evacuation of Prime Minister Theresa May. The Metropolitan Police are reportedly treating the incident as a terrorist attack for the time being, and it seemed immediately clear that the American president would soon have something to say ― here's Donald Trump's first reaction to the Westminster incident.
The question of when and where Trump decides to weigh-in on acts of violence, even terroristic ones, has proven highly controversial. In the early days of his presidency, after six Muslims were slain by a right-wing shooter at a Mosque in Quebec, Trump conspicuously failed to publicly comment on the attack. This fueled accusations that he only seeks to publicize acts of terroristic violence when they could benefit him politically ― in other words, when Muslims are perpetrators rather than innocent victims. This perception wasn't helped by his eldest son Don Jr., who liked a tweet about the Quebec attacks being used to his father's political advantage before the facts of the situation emerged.
At this early stage, it's unclear what precisely happened at Westminster, and who was responsible. But it was clear enough from the outset that Trump regarded this as one to weigh-in on: His first public reaction was to tell reporters that "some big news having to do with London just happened."
Trump reacts: “Hearing some big news having to do with London. It just happened.”— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 22, 2017
That's all he said for now. pic.twitter.com/caEJzWHEuE
Needless to say, you're definitely going to hear Trump comment publicly and officially on this at some point ― unless perhaps, as the Quebec incident demonstrated, it turns out that the reported facts of the incident don't line up with Trump's political motives. But given that it's clearly already on his radar, it seems a safe bet that a more thorough statement will arrive at some point in the near future. As of this writing, there hasn't been any reaction on his Twitter account, either.
The U.S. State Department has also put out a statement, saying that it's "closely following the concerning situation outside the UK parliament," and that "our hearts go out to those affected."
U.S. State Department statement on London incident pic.twitter.com/5bYFTPB1jm— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) March 22, 2017
According to Trump's Twitter, he was meant to be working on the passage of the hotly criticized, potentially imperiled Trumpcare bill today, so it's not clear when he might have the time to make any further comments. This much, however, is clear: when he does, the tenor of his response could have a big impact, a fact which surely has plenty of people feeling more than a little nervous.