In the immediate aftermath of the London terror attacks, President Trump ran to Twitter to share his thoughts with the country. Here they were:
We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2017
Whatever the United States can do to help out in London and the U. K., we will be there - WE ARE WITH YOU. GOD BLESS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 3, 2017
We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don't get smart it will only get worse— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
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
Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That's because they used knives and a truck!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
He then added this morning, after receiving blowback from London Mayor Sadiq Khan:
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his "no reason to be alarmed" statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Trump isn’t actually wrong about any of this.
While the travel ban isn’t sufficient to protect Americans — as Andrew McCarthy points out, we’d be far better off strengthening vetting standards than imposing blanket bans from countries where most terrorists have not sprung — it isn’t unreasonable to suggest that we’ll be safer if we’re not importing unvetted Muslim immigrants from terror-rich societies. Trump is absolutely correct about political correctness, of course, which prevents us from having necessary discussions about how to separate Muslims with shariah law aspirations from Muslims who believe in separation of mosque and state. Trump’s slam against Khan may have been uncalled-for — of course Khan called for calm in London — but he’s not technically wrong that it’s hard to tell your citizens to calm down while the entire police force is on the streets. And Trump is correct about the deleterious effects of gun control on self-defense capacity — Londoners were attempting to stop knife-wielding terrorists by hurling beer mugs at them, apparently.
Now, the question: was any of this particularly useful? Answer: no. It didn’t shift the debate. We could have had this debate on terms Trump would have liked had Trump waited 24 hours to make a well-crafted speech about the West’s need to keep its citizenry safe from the threat of Islamism.
Instead, the Left is glomming into Trump’s tweets to avoid talking about the real issues: the nature of radical Islam and the extent of its spread in the West; how to distinguish radical Muslims from reformers and moderate Muslims; what government policies are best calibrated toward these ends. The Left spent the first day following the London attacks fulminating over Trump’s tweets so they didn’t have to talk about this issues. Instead, CNN’s Reza Aslan called Trump a “piece of s***,” Sally Kohn tweeted about why political correctness is necessary, and most of the mainstream media wondered about the global political impact of Trump’s twitter account.
This says more about the Left than it says about Trump.
Trump says what comes into his head. That's not useful. It's counterproductive. But the Left uses Trump's penchant for sounding off as a target because they don’t want to face up to the challenges faced by the West in the form of Islamism. That’s repulsive. It would be one thing to discuss the merits and demerits of Trump’s take on Islamism. But the media instead decided to focus on the appropriateness of Trump’s response while the bodies in London were still warm. That smacks of political opportunism. They’re more concerned with anti-Trumpism than anti-Islamism.