Trump reacts quickly to attacks only if perpetrator is presumed to be Muslim.

Trump Once Again Showed He Only Speaks Up Quickly After an Attack if the Perpetrator Is Presumed to Be…

Trump Once Again Showed He Only Speaks Up Quickly After an Attack if the Perpetrator Is Presumed to Be…

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June 4 2017 9:15 PM

Trump Once Again Showed He Only Speaks Up Quickly After an Attack if the Perpetrator Is Presumed to Be Muslim

President Trump refers to amounts of temperature change as he announces his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement at the White House on Thursday.

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It didn’t take long for President Donald Trump to go on Twitter and comment on this weekend’s terror attack in London. And that followed a clear pattern for the commander in chief, who seems eager to comment on and condemn attacks when he believes the perpetrators are Muslim but is conspicuously quiet when the attackers are white extremists. Let’s take a look at a few examples since he was sworn is as president (although the pattern really started long before):

Québec Mosque Shooting


When a gunman shot and killed six men at a mosque in Québec City on Jan. 29, Trump was quiet on social media. That silence was particularly conspicuous considering the attack came merely two days after Trump signed an executive order banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. “He doesn’t tweet about everything,” senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said when she was asked why the president hadn’t condemned the attack on social media. "Oh, he doesn't tweet about everything?" Late Night host Seth Meyers said in response. "Because it sure feels like he does."

Kansas Shooting

When a white man in Olathe, Kansas, shot two Indian men, and killed one of them, at a bar in February apparently under the presumption that they were Muslim and illegal immigrants, Trump stayed silent for days. It took Trump almost a week to condemn the Feb. 22 attack. “We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all of its very ugly forms,” Trump said in a joint address to Congress six days later.

Portland Train Attack


When a known white supremacist killed two men and injured another in a train in Portland, Oregon, last month, it took Trump three days to condemn the attack. And even then it was through his official POTUS account. The two men were killed when they tried to intervene and stop the attacker’s hate speech toward two women, one of whom was wearing a hijab. And while it took three days for Trump to issue a pretty bland Twitter statement condemning the murders, in the meantime he sent out 21 tweets that, among other things, criticized the media and pushed his tax cuts.

Compare those delayed responses with the following cases when Trump immediately presumed the attacker was Muslim:

Louvre Knife Attack

When an Egyptian man rushed a group of French soldiers guarding the Louvre Museum in Paris and injured one soldier with a machete as he yelled “Allahu Akbar” it only took Trump a few hours to tweet about the Feb. 3 incident. “A new radical Islamic terrorist has just attacked in Louvre Museum in Paris. Tourists were locked down. France on edge again. GET SMART U.S.,” he wrote.


Parliament Attack

After a man drove a car into pedestrians close to the British Parliament on March 22, Trump was also quick to react on social media. The message was a bit bland to be sure, but he still acknowledged it had happened. “Spoke to U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May today to offer condolences on the terrorist attack in London,” Trump wrote. He also briefly spoke to reporters shortly after the attack: “I was just getting an update on London. Some big news having to do with London just happened.”

Manchester Bombing

Trump was on his first international trip when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22, killing 22 people. After a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem the next day, Trump condemned the attack. “So many young, beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life,” he said. “I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are. They’re losers. And we’ll have more of them. But they’re losers. Just remember that.”

London Bridge Attack

When three men ran over pedestrians in the heart of London on Saturday night, Trump acted like a mere spectator. Even though he has access to the most extensive intelligence networks in the world, the president retweeted an unconfirmed report from a right-wing news site before using it as an opportunity to plug his Muslim ban. He also offered condolences and support to the British people. And he wasn’t done. The next day, Trump said the attack showed why “we must stop being politically correct” before criticizing the mayor of London by mischaracterizing one of his statements. He then took the opportunity to criticize gun control advocates.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.