On Friday, the United States mourned for Portland, where an allegedly hate-filled attack led to the death of two men and the significant injury of another. And finally, on Monday, the president of the United States responded to the attack. But ultimately, Trump's response to the Portland stabbing does little to combat the hatred that drove the violence in the first place. It's a perfect example of the too little, too late principle — and given all that Trump and his administration have done to encourage intolerance, his response to this attacks should have been a lot stronger.
Trump's election sparked an increase in racist and xenophobic crimes, and hate crimes against Muslims were a large part of that. He won't explicitly recognize that, though, and this is a pattern that he continued in his reaction to the Portland stabbing. According to witnesses, those two men died because they reportedly stood up to protect two Muslim girls from hate speech; the suspect, a known white supremacist, allegedly lashed out while the men were trying to stop his diatribe of ethnic and racist slurs. The FBI responded, the Portland police department responded, politicians and public figures across the country responded, but the White House remained silent. This was a horrifying, heartbreaking attack — and yet Trump's response, now that it has finally come, is impersonal and inadequate, belated, and demeaning to the people who died standing up to hate.
The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable. The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.— President Trump (@POTUS) May 29, 2017
It's bad enough that he only responded on Twitter, and he only did it three days after the attack. The inadequacy of the response, however, is only magnified by the fact that it didn't even come from Trump's personal account, but instead from the @POTUS account, which he largely just uses to retweet himself, Melania Trump, and various other allies. On his personal account, Trump spent the last two days complaining about the "Fake News Media" and boasting about the achievements of his trip abroad, posting nothing original on the official POTUS account. He even had the chance to retweet a glamour shot of him and Melania from behind and one of those fake news-related tweets — among other — on the POTUS account before he responded to the attacks. Really says something about the president's priorities, right?
Responding to this vicious attack in which two brave Americans lost their lives was evidently not so important to Donald J. Trump. Not as important as reacting to the fake news, anyway. Not important enough to show up on his personal Twitter account, and not important enough to respond in real time. He hasn't made a speech condemning it, and the White House still hasn't made an official statement. All that the families and friends of the victims have from the nation's president is a lame tweet from a secondary account.
The president has a responsibility to try to protect the American people from harm, and that means all Americans. With this late, half-hearted response, he's given us yet more reason to believe that he doesn't care enough to take that responsibility seriously.