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US Official: Trump ‘Was Freelancing’ When He Called Manila Robbery ‘Terrorist Attack’

Prior to making his Rose Garden announcement this afternoon that the United States was exiting from the Paris Climate Agreement, President Donald Trump touched on a few other subjects before getting to the big news. One of those related to a robbery attempt at a Phillippines casino earlier in the day that briefly brought up concerns of terrorism.

Well, the president apparently didn’t want to wait to label — erroneously — the incident as an act of terror. Below are his remarks:

“I would like to begin by addressing the terrorist attack in Manila. We’re closely monitoring the situation and I will continue to give updates if anything happens during this period of time but it is really very sad as to what is going on throughout the world with terror.”

As NBC News noted, a US intelligence official stated that the president “was freelancing” and that when he said it was a terrorist attack, the Situation Room began laughing.

In comments made to reporters, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that Trump made his remarks because he was told in a briefing that ISIS had claimed responsibility:

Meanwhile, the whole thing looks to be the result of a “foreign white man” stuffing casino chips in a bag and taking off in the complex. The shots that were fired during the robbery attempt were at cameras. While three people were taken to nearby hospitals, their injuries appeared to be due to rushing out of the resort.

Watch the president’s remarks above, via CNN.

UPDATE 12:05 AM ET 6/2/2017: New reports out of Manila state that at least 30 bodies were recovered at the resort. Per a presidential spokesman, “all died due to suffocation at the second floor gaming area, which had been set on fire by the perpetrator.” At least 54 others were taken to nearby hospitals after sustaining injuries. The spokesman pointed out that there is no link to terrorism at this time as it is still being looked at as a robbery.

[image via screengrab]

Follow Justin Baragona on Twitter: @justinbaragona

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