On Thursday, after reports stated that a number of U.S. troops were killed in the terrorist attack on the Kabul airport, the U.S. State Department issued a statement confirming some troops had died, concluding by offering their “thoughts and prayers.”
The State Department stated:
We can confirm that a number of U.S. Service members were killed in today’s complex attack at the Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones and teammates of all those killed or injured.
DOD spox: "We can confirm that a number of U.S. service members were killed in today’s complex attack at Kabul airport. A number of others are being treated for wounds. We also know that a number of Afghans fell victim to this heinous attack. Our thoughts and prayers go out…" pic.twitter.com/elbnf86Qmt
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) August 26, 2021
Members of the Left have mocked conservatives for offering thoughts and prayers after people were killed for years, demanding action. After the massacres in El Paso and Dayton in August 2019, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote venomously:
Cue the thoughts and prayers! “Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers,” tweeted President Trump, who vows to veto gun control. “Elaine’s and my prayers go out to the victims,” tweeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocks votes on gun control. Do they not realize that “thoughts and prayers” has become a meme, a cynical punchline conveying inaction on guns? It’s what people say when they plan to do nothing.
“Actually, we criticize prayer in lieu of action,” Milbank pontificated.
Actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted in February 2018 after the Parkland shooting: “Prayers without accordant action are silent lies told to oneself, heard by no God, amounting to nothing. Action is the language of truth, the prayers of the Saints.”
Prayers without accordant action are silent lies told to oneself, heard by no God, amounting to nothing. Action is the language of truth, the prayers of the Saints.
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) February 14, 2018
In April 2020, former First Lady Melania Trump was taunted by the Left for using “empty words” after she offered this tweet during the coronavirus crisis: “Our thoughts & prayers continue to be w/ each person suffering & fighting to recover from this terrible virus, & with all of the families who have lost loved ones. Even though we are physically apart, we are all in this fight together.”
CNN reported in May 2018:
In one highly-shared image that circulated after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting in February, “Thoughts and Prayers” is imprinted on the side of a garbage truck. Another meme shows an empty van. “Excellent news,” it reads. “The first truckload of your thoughts and prayers has just arrived.”
Jokes, mere hours after a deadly shooting? To the voices behind the dark humor, the persistence of “thoughts and prayers” is the real joke.
As a presidential candidate in 2019, Kamala Harris wrote:
As President, I will ask Congress to place comprehensive gun reform on my desk within 100 days. If they fail to act, I will take action. Here is what I will do:
I will revoke the licenses of gun manufacturers and dealers that break the law and take the most egregious offenders to court.
I will mandate the most comprehensive background checks in history by requiring anyone who sells more than five guns in a year to run a background check on all gun sales.
And I will ban the importation of AR-15-style assault weapons into the United States.
These are actions well within the powers of the presidency. And I will take them. This is a public health emergency that needs to be addressed. No more thoughts and prayers. We need action.