On Sunday, after the USS John S. McCain collided with another ship and 10 sailors went missing, President Donald Trump responded to the news with "That's too bad." Trump's response infuriated some Twitter users, who called out the president's reaction as heartless.
"This is a joke. 'That's too bad' is more for your golf game not missing sailors @POTUS!" tweeted the Vote Vets Action Fund, an organization for progressive military veterans.
On Sunday evening, the Navy reported that USS John S. McCain, a missile destroyer, had collided with the Alnic MC, a 600-foot oil tanker, off the coast of Singapore. According to the Navy's press release, while there was "significant damage to the hull," the McCain had made it safely to port at Singapore's Changi Naval Base. In addition to the 10 sailors that remain missing, five sailors were injured, but all injuries were non-life threatening, according to the Navy.
Sen. John McCain, whose grandfather and father are the namesakes for the destroyer, tweeted that the situation of missing and injured sailors was on his thoughts. "Cindy & I are keeping America's sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight — appreciate the work of search & rescue crews," he posted.
After his initial "that's too bad" comment, in response to a question from a White House pool reporter, Trump tweeted a longer, more sympathetic message: "Thoughts & prayers are w/ our @USNavy sailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway."
Nonetheless, for some on Twitter, the damage had already been done, and more than a few users even went so far as to call for Trump's resignation. Journalist Andrea Chalupa posted: "'That's too bad' is an insult to every American serving in the armed forces and their families. #TrumpResign." Her tweet had received thousands of likes and retweets at the time of this writing.
Others wondered how the public would have responded if President Barack Obama or another recent president had reacted to the news of missing sailors in such a manner. "Imagine the reaction if Obama, Bush, Clinton said 'that's too bad' in response to missing soldiers on a military vessel," tweeted The New York Times' Maggie Haberman.
Huffington Post reporter Matt Fuller pushed Haberman's thought one step further, asking about how conservative outlets would have responded to such a misstep by Obama. "Five U.S. sailors injured, 10 missing. Trump: "That's too bad." If that were Obama's reaction, Fox News would scandalize it for a month," Fuller tweeted.