As I have previously observed, Donald’s first instinct after a terror attack is to do a touchdown dance, explicitly congratulating himself for being right or doing the same implicitly by wondering when (other) people will “wake up” or “learn” or “get smart,” followed by the inevitable grave musings about how things are getting worse. Condolences and concern for the victims is invariably the last thing on his mind.
After the attack in Brussels:
After the attack in Orlando:
After the attack in Turkey:
After an attack in Baghdad:
After the attack in San Bernardino, he manually retweeted someone saying his poll numbers go up every time there is an attack:
Even after tragedies that aren’t terror attacks, he doesn’t bother to wait until all the facts come in before doing the same morbid jig:
The Nice truck massacre, unfortunately, was no different—even after he was offered some sage advice to help him avoid being ghoulishly exploitative:
As Hillary noted: Donald makes everything about him, even “the killing of people.”
Donald thrives on fear. He exploits death. And his campaign does not exist in a vacuum: It exists in a time of global darkness; in a time of division fomented by violent extremists at home and abroad. He has been used at least twice in terrorist recruitment media. While Donald did not cause global terrorism, his irresponsible and inflammatory policies and rhetoric also do not exist outside of it.
A person running for the United States presidency is given one of the most visible platforms on the planet. Donald has chosen to use that platform to respond to terrorist attacks not with measured statesmanship, but as though he’s just run a football into the end zone.
Under the auspices of “concern” that the US is not being “smart” about terror, Donald implies that he is smart; that he alone has the capability to stop global terror. Under the auspices of “concern” for people, he warns that it’s only going to get worse.
On the one hand, he feeds fear that more terror is to come. On the other, he promises to assuage that fear with his leadership. And embedded right in the middle is a sickening celebration that he’s right about how dangerous the world is, and a revolting glee that more death has both proved him right and given him another reason to claim that he is.
His gruesome tweets—and commentary at his incendiary campaign rallies—create a feedback loop of catalystic terror. A terror attack happens; he feeds the fear that more will come in order to justify his reactionary policy. His reactionary policy is used in propaganda to recruit terrorists to commit more attacks.
And ’round and ’round we go.
A U.S. presidential candidate has positioned himself as someone who takes advantage of global terror rather than projecting maturity, calm and control. The world sees that.
The world also sees that this candidate, nominated by voters, is representative of some meaningful segment of the nation.
Donald refuses to step down from his grisly messaging and vile policies. So the message we must send to the rest of the world in November is clear: He doesn’t represent our majority.
We mustn’t celebrate with him. We must only celebrate his defeat.
UPDATE (8/28/16): On August 27, Trump published an incredibly insensitive tweet after the death of Nykea Aldridge, a Black woman who was killed in a crossfire while pushing her baby in a stroller in Chicago. Aldridge was the cousin of basketball star Dwyane Wade.
Again, Trump’s first impulse is to crow that he is “right.” His tweet was met with appropriate outrage.
(BNR extends our sincerest condolences to Aldridge’s family, friends, and community, and we take up space in solidarity with those who are pushing back against Trump’s cruel exploitation of her death.)