President Trump is notoriously inconsistent on his positions and policies, but he can always be counted on for his consistency in denouncing violence by Muslims while remaining silent on violence against Muslims.
The attack on Muslim worshippers exiting a London mosque early Monday morning, in what has been described by officials as an act of terrorism perpetrated by a 47-year-old white man, became the latest instance of Trump’s blatant juxtaposition.
Within two hours of theLondon Bridge attack earlier this month when a van driven by ISIS sympathizers drove into a crowd of pedestrians, killing eight and wounding dozens, Trump demonstrated his eagerness to rail against the culprits and further justify a fear of Muslims and the need for a Muslim ban.
“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don’t get smart it will only get worse,” Trump tweeted. The president also criticized London’s Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan, taking his words out of context to mock him.
But following Monday’s nearly identical terrorist act wherein a driver deliberately drove a van into a crowd of people in London, Trump has remained silent. The primary difference between both attacks is the race and religion of the perpetrators and victims. In Monday’s incident, it was a white man who targeted Muslims leaving a mosque following Ramadan prayers.
The attack left one dead and 11 othersinjured. According to witnesses on the scene, the driver, identified as Darren Osborne, allegedly shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims. I did mybit.”
Khan and British Prime Minister Theresa May immediately characterized the incident as a terrorist act.
“Terrorism is terrorism,” Khan told ABC News.”It doesn’t matter whether you’re inspired by a perverse force of Islam or you’re inspired by some other motives to try and terrorize others. The intention is the same.”
“This was an attack on Muslims near their place of worship and, like all terrorism in whatever form, it shares the same fundamental goal,”May said. “It is a reminder that terrorism, extremism, and hatred take many forms, and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible.”
For its part, the White House did issue a brief statement on the attack, but the president himself has not mentioned it on either of his two Twitter accounts.
While some may argue the statement from the White House speaks for the president, or that the president cannot be expected to comment on any and every incident of violence around the world, in the case of Trump specifically, the president has not missed a beat when condemning violence committed by Muslims or immigrants, documented or not, for that matter.
In January, a gunman murdered six worshippers at a mosque in Quebec. Conservative media initially identified the shooter as a Muslim extremist, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited the massacre as validation of Trump’s Muslim ban.
White House cited massacre as a reason for immigrant ban, but has been silent since gunman was identified as white nationalist with pro-Trump views.
“It’s a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the president is taking steps to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security,” Spicer said at the time.
As it turned out, however, the alleged gunman was a French-Canadian white nationalist who boasted on Facebook to be a fan of Trump and far-right French politician Marine Le Pen, and whose friends and online acquaintances told Canadian media he expressed anti-immigration sentiments, especially toward Muslim refugees.
In the aftermath, Trump did call Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to offer his condolences, but the president did not tweet about the incident or publicly condemn the attack.
Five days later, following a foiled attack by a knife-wielding man in Paris who shouted “Allah akbar” before being shot by police, Trump immediately tweeted: “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again.”
Trump also did not comment when a white supremacist in Portland, Ore., last month fatally stabbed two men and wounded another after they tried to intervene as he screamed anti-Muslim insults at two women on a train, one wearing a hijab. Following three days of criticism, the president finally did condemn the attack, but the tweet was on his @POTUS account, not his personal account, with more than 30 million followers, including his alt-right base, where he goes to condemn Muslim terrorists.
While the Black community was blamed when a Black man killed police officers last summer, the tone is different when the suspect is a white, Confederate flag-waving Trump supporter.
In a column on the Daily Beast titled, “Will Donald Trump Ever Be Interested In the Death of a Muslim” on Monday, Muslim American comedian and attorney Dean Obeidallah said, “Muslims lives only matter to Trump when he can demonize us for political gain.” Referencing Trump’s silence on Twitter, he said, “Instead Trump sent out two tweets Monday morning, one urging people to watch his lawyer on Fox News, which he oddly deleted. And then a tweet about the special congressional election in Georgia.”
“Trump has a presumption of guilt for Muslims that he doesn’t for the white peoplewho committed the crimes in Kansas, Portland and at the London mosque,” wrote The Washington Post’s Philip Bump on Monday. “Trump’s presidential campaign and therefore his presidency relied on the idea that America was under threat from terrorism and crime, apoint of view that necessarily overlapped with America’s complex racial history. That’s the other reason Trump highlights terrorist acts by Muslims and ignores those against them: He has reapedpolitical rewards from it.”