In the wake of a disaster, leaders in the United Kingdom are scrambling to look after their people. Following the latest terror attack, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has attempted to dissuade panic with the promise of protection. However, United States President Donald seems to be taking the conversation in the opposite direction, driving a narrative that there is plenty of cause for concern. Trump went as far as to mock Khan in a new round of Twitter posts today and while some have jumped to his aid, others are criticizing the President on stirring emotion to drive his policies.
It was on Saturday night, June 3, when a van came careening down the street near the London Bridge, attempting to run down multitudes of people. When the van crashed, three men emerged from the van with knives and began a stabbing spree which took them into nearby restaurants and shops. Police arrived on the scene and fired over 50 rounds to subdue the attackers due to a perception that they may have been wearing explosive suicide belts, according to a report on CNN. In the wake of the incident, at least seven people are confirmed dead and 48 were injured. As of a report today on the Guardian, 21 of the 48 injured are in critical condition.
Never one to remain quiet in such matters, Donald Trump immediately jumped into a tirade of tweets following a retweet from the Drudge Report following the first details of the attack. While claiming support of the UK, much of the President’s focus was put towards a refreshed prioritization of pushing through his travel ban, which he has been attempting to enact to restrict or outright bar visitors to the United States from specific countries. Some felt that the President was using the London attack to tastelessly further his goals, such as CNN Anchor Reza Aslan, who harshly berated Trump for immediately politicizing the attack.
Trump didn’t stop there. On Sunday morning, June 4, the President went right back to it, this time taking aim at London Mayor Sadiq Khan in a new round of tweets. In this particular rant, Trump criticized Khan, perceiving that the London Mayor had claimed that there was no cause for alarm.
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
This was in relation to a statement Khan released on Facebook following the attack. Rather, Khan did not claim there was no cause for alarm, but instead asked London residents to “remain calm” as city services prepared to heighten protection and work through the night.
“The situation is still unfolding and I would ask all Londoners and visitors to our city to remain calm and vigilant. Please report anything suspicious to the police, but only call 999 in an emergency. We don’t yet know the full details, but this was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”
Trump’s other tweets challenged political correctness and called for immediate action. Many have perceived this as the President attempting to create alarm to further his agenda in the midst of a crisis. Various London politicians went on to berate Trump for his twitter attack against Khan, such as Labour Politician Wes Streeting who pointed to Trump’s similar tweets berating the Manchester Police during another recent terrorist attack.
Having already undermined police response to Manchester, this so-called ally makes cheap attack on London's Mayor. Cancel the state visit. https://t.co/qgFi3NlzX0
— Wes Streeting (@wesstreeting) June 4, 2017
It’s not the first time that relations between Donald Trump and Sadiq Khan have been less than warm. As an English Muslim himself, Khan was publicly critical of Trump’s travel ban and previous statements about the state of safety in London. The two had repeatedly engaged in criticism of one another over that and other matters with Khan insisting that Trump not bother to visit at one point and that Trump was ignorant of London and its culture.
Trump is by no means alone in his stance against extremism, and may very well have support in UK Prime Minister Theresa May. The Prime Minister put out her own response against the attack, condemning Islamic terrorism in the UK and claiming “enough is enough,” calling for a top-level security meeting today, on June 4, according to a report by the Guardian.
“Everybody needs to go about their lives as they normally would. Our society should continue to function in accordance with our values. But when it comes to taking on extremism and terrorism, things need to change.”
It should be noted that the UK’s Parliament Elections are coming up on June 8, and some believe that may be driving Theresa May’s response to the situation, such as political opponent and Labour Party candidate David Lammy, who was critical of both Trump and May’s responses to the London situation.
Campaigning clearly has not been stopped if the PM stands outside No 10 and announces a four point plan within hours of an attack. https://t.co/iv6oJcb9BI
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) June 4, 2017
In the wake of terror attacks, it’s rarely a more important time for leaders and public services to step up, protect, and reassure citizens. For his part, Mayor Sadiq Khan has been silent in the wake of Trump’s remarks as he continues to focus on response to the London attack. Considering it is the second major terrorist attack in less than two weeks in the UK, the matter may come to a boil as UK election dawn. However, President Trump’s continuous use of Twitter in situations like the London attack continue to draw criticism and speculation to his actual goals inside and outside of the United States.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]