Donald Trump is a boring bigot. By that I mean he couldn’t be more predictable when it comes to his response to terrorist acts committed by Muslims as opposed to white supremacists.
We saw yet another example Thursday after the horrible terror attack in Barcelona. Within minutes of hearing about the incident many – including myself – tweeted that if the attacker turns out to be Muslim, Trump won’t wait for any more facts. He will instead instantly call it “radical Islamic Terrorism. “ And as expected we were right.
There was Trump on Twitter even before we knew the name of the attacker and as the victims were still being treated on the scene tweeting: “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”
Although Trump did surprise many by invoking the myth that General Pershing had stopped terrorism by dipping bullets in pigs blood before killing Muslim terrorists in the Philippines in 1899. We could laugh off Trump repeating this lie except for the fact that in October three right wing men known as “The Crusaders” were charged with terrorism for plotting to kill Muslims in Kansas and a phone call intercepted by the police heard one of them saying, “make sure you dip them in pig’s blood before you shoot them.”
Yes, Trump was correct about the horrific terror attack in Barcelona– as I’m sure Trump supporters will whine about in the comments section to this article. But the point is when it comes to Muslims involved in terror, Trump will instantly and with few facts call it radical Islamic Terrorism. He did the same thing after the Orlando shooting last June where he literally patted himself on the back for being right about “radical Islamic terrorism” before the motive for the attack was even known.
But when it comes to white supremacists committing acts of terror, Trump will wait for days to address it – or he will simply remain silent. For example, after the terrorist attack Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, the ADL posted that evening a photo of the driver of the car that killed Heather Heyer posing with a white supremacist group at the rally. Yet Trump refused to even comment on racism that sparked the attack for two days. When Trump finally did address the issue 48 hours later he Instead he gave us the BS there were “many sides” to the attack. And of course he has never, ever uttered the words “white supremacist terrorism.”
When asked on Wednesday why he waited two days to call out the white supremacy that fueled Saturday’s terror attack, Trump told us that, “I wanted to make sure, unlike most politicians, that what I said was correct, not make a quick statement.” Adding, “I don’t want to go quickly and just make a statement for the sake of making a political statement.” The fact Trump was able not to break into laughter when saying that last line should earn him an Emmy award for acting in a reality show.
And Trump was silent in the face of a string of other white supremacist terror attacks on his watch. In May, self-professed white supremacist Jeremy Christian killed two brave Americans on a Portland train who stood up to his hate. Yet we heard nothing from Trump about white supremacist terrorism.
Same goes for when 28-year-old white supremacist James Jackson travelled from Baltimore to New York City and intentionally killed a random black man because he wanted to stop black men from dating white women. Jackson was formally charged with terrorism by the Manhattan DA but not a peep from Trump about this man who had plan to kill even more black men but was thankfully arrested before he could do so.
Trump should respond with equal passion and pointed words regardless of the religion or race of the attacker. But he won’t. Why? Simple, demonizing Muslims – or Latinos, immigrants and other minorities – plays great with his bigoted base. And conversely if Trump passionately slammed white supremacy it would anger many in his base. (A new poll Thursday found that 67 percent of Republicans approved of Trump’s response to the Charlottesville attack.)
That’s why we won’t see any changes to Trump’s reaction to terrorism in the future. His predictable bigotry is exactly what his base wants to see.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.