Trump administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer has spoken out Monday in a media briefing where he appeared to use Sunday’s shooting attack in Quebec City as justification for Trump’s Muslim travel ban. In the briefing, Spicer repeatedly referenced the incident, leading many to believe that his comments were intended as a justification for the controversial ban.
“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 continued saying President Trump had called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier to offer his prayers, condolences, and any law enforcement help the country needs. Spicer added that both Trudeau and Trump agreed that it was too early to speculate on possible motives behind the attack.
In a statement, Trudeau expressed his condolences to the Muslim community while acknowledging that the incident, in which six people lost their lives, was an act of terrorism.
“[The incident was a] Terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge. Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”
Spicer has faced controversy since his first press conference the day after Trump’s inauguration where he was accused of telling blatant untruths about attendance numbers at the event. He used the opportunity to blast the media for their “dishonesty” in reporting while he rattled off a list of easily disproved facts.
The Trump administration has staunchly defended the Press Secretary’s remarks, coining the term “alternative facts” to describe his statements.
In Monday’s briefing, Spicer found himself constantly defending Trump’s Muslim travel ban. The temporary order, which has drawn the ire of many Americans and those around the world, bans citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US.
Spicer addressed the ban, explaining that Trump was staying true to his campaign promises.
“He’s doing exactly what the told the American people he would do.”
He continued, attempting to add some perspective to the issue.
“We’ve got to keep this in proportion folks… We had 109 people that were temporarily detained” out of 325,000 international travelers, so the safety of 320 million Americans could be put first.”
Spicer goes on to again suggest that the media are to blame for the negative perception of the ban, stating that the situation had been “blown way out of proportion and exaggerated.” When asked by a reporter if there was any truth to the rumor that upwards of 100 State Department staff had signed a memo advising against the ban, Spicer avoided the question while implying that Trump’s stance on the issue was the only one that mattered.
“These career bureaucrats have a problem with it? I think they should either get with the program or go.”
Memorials and vigils are taking place across Canada following the incident on Sunday night in which two gunmen opened fire at the Islamic Cultural Center mosque in the Ste-Foy neighborhood of Quebec-City, Quebec. In addition to the six confirmed dead, five people are reportedly in a critical condition while 12 others suffered minor injuries. The suspect, Alexandre Bissonnette, is in custody charged with six counts of murder.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has addressed the country’s Muslim community in a statement, offering sympathy while reminding the nation of Canada’s commitment to diversity.
“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a center of worship and refuge. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we hold dear. Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country.”
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Trudeau issued a statement in response to Trump’s travel ban stating Canada’s commitment to immigrants and travelers from all nations.
[Featured Image by Susan Walsch/AP Images]