On Saturday, June 3, London once again succumbed to another tragic terror attack centered on one of the UK’s key travel and entertainment districts, London Bridge. The tragedy entailed a van running down a number of victims and then carrying on to the nearby area of Borough Market where the terrorists got out of the van and proceeded to remorselessly stab unbeknown Londoners and visitors in the area. Thankfully, due to the resources of the London police and anti-terror units, all the assailants were shot and killed within eight minutes of the attack taking place. At the time of this article being written, we know that seven people have been killed and 48 are injured; 21 of which are now in critical condition. Britain is currently displaying an unrelenting solidarity against the attackers after the London Bridge terror attack, proving as always that the fundamentals of a nation cannot be swayed by terror attacks from extremists such as ISIS.
Unfortunately, there are always those who seek to capitalize on such events as the London Bridge terror attack to promote a message of fear and prejudice. We all know such people exist and will use such tragedies to promote their own form of propaganda and blinded anger. Unfortunately, this time, this blinded hate sits in the Oval Office.
There’s an unrelenting truth that we should expect this from Donald Trump. There hasn’t been an attack similar to this, both nationally or internationally, where Mr Trump hasn’t engaged in an event to capitalize on his own agenda. For the London Bridge terror attack in particular, however, it was noticeably particularly prominent. As ever, Mr Trump chooses to avoid using official presidential platforms and instead used his personal twitter account to spout a variety of messages that flew from curve ball to curve ball with deplorable vigor. A timeline of these and significant responses regarding the London Bridge terror attack can be found below.
All of the following can be found at @realDonaldTrump (unless Trump plays his usual cards and takes Tweets down when the tide turns on him):
Mr Trump began by retweeting the far right news reporter The Drudge Report, @Drudge_report
“Fears of new terror attack after van 'mows down 20 people' on London Bridge...”
NBC news is forced to cite that Mr Trump’s retweet has “unconfirmed information”
“Pres. Trump has used Twitter to share news report on London incident.
We aren't relaying president's retweet, as the info is unconfirmed.”
“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety”
“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”
“At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”
“Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That's because they used knives and a truck!”
This series of tweets, with undoubtedly more on the way, create a picture of the representation Mr Trump is giving the American people. Several politicians, esteemed American figures, and general public have relayed that Mr Trump does not speak on behalf of the people.
There are several alarming attributes to this series of tweets regarding the London Bridge terror attack. It’s important, to begin with, that instead of using his own intelligence services, Trump retweets a far right conservative news site that has been known for their radical extremists views themselves. They are an institution that’s strongly in favour of Trump’s “Travel (let's be real, Muslim) Ban” and his original plan of building a wall to segregate Mexico. Why would Mr Trump choose such a source when he has a wide variety of credible and far more politically reputable sources right at his fingertips? Simply, The Drudge Report aligns strongly with Trump's ideologies and invoking such hatred to him as a feasible approach to pushing his travel ban back to the forefront of American politics. The mere fact that NBC news has to discount THE PRESIDENT’S own fact relaying should be embarrassing to the president—he has discredited himself as a feasible source of reliable information.
Sadiq Khan caught in Trump's line of fire
My Trump next went on to attack the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, criticizing his approach on multiple occasions to reassure and inform the British people after the London Bridge terror attack that there was “no reason to be alarmed” as an increase of police and armed forces would be dispatched around the city. Mr Trump probably revelled in his own genius at this point when he used the “no reason to be alarmed” quote out of context to portray Khan to be overlooking the crisis at hand. Reassuring the public that there is “no reason to be alarmed” is not a distraction, it’s reassurance the powers that be are going out of their way to sort the matter at hand. The terrorists of the London Bridge terror attack were apprehended within eight minutes. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat who’s a member of the Senate intelligence committee, told CNN the president’s words “troubled” him. Former vice president, Al Gore, noted, “I don’t think a major terrorist attack like this is the time to be divisive and to criticise a mayor who’s trying to organise his city’s response.”
Trump seems at odds with the political institution he has engrossed himself within. While there obviously need to be a swift and radical response to these increasing terror attacks, instilling fear within people at home and abroad doesn’t seem to be the solution. Khan himself remained largely quiet about the London Terror attack until yesterday (June 5) retaliating only by saying Mr Trump’s state invite to Great Britain should be put on hold, “I don’t think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the USA in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for.”
Only by rising above terror acts and proving our way of life can continue as normal despite these atrocities, can we truly show extremists that we do not succumb to such threats. Trump is all about the reaction, the reliance of fear and anger as a weapon. If we follow his lead, arguably, the terrorists themselves win.
A gun debate?
Trump capped off his series of tweets the day after the London Bridge terror attack by drawing on gun violence and how the terrorists used knives and vehicles rather than artillery. This makes little to no sense. The very fact there were no guns surely runs in favour of the British people to some degree. Yes, the atrocities were awful, but take a moment to imagine how much worse these attacks could have been if British terror groups had freer and easier access to firearms. Trump’s political agenda to force gun control into the debate on an already devastating issue shows a man unhinged, willing to throw agendas that do not need to be in question at this moment.
Our president is at odds with the appropriate and forward thinking nature of the world. Yes, there are those who follow his viewpoint, we know this; he’s in the most powerful office in America. But surely, even his most devout of followers must see cracks beginning to form. When every political institution worldwide is rallying an alternate viewpoint to our president, then is he acting in the peoples' interest or his own? I think we all know the answer. This piece doesn’t need to tell you.
Our thoughts at this moment sit firmly with the people of London and anyone who’s suffered at the hands of the London Bridge terror attack, or any other attack of recent times. One man's bigotry does not represent the solidarity we wish to show in these challenging moments.