Following the tragic shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Donald Trump wasted no time in formulating a series of tweets that are practically oozing with a self-vindicating kind of glee:
I personally find it annoying when people try to avoid tough discussions (about gun laws, terrorism, or anything else) by saying we shouldn’t “politicize” a tragic incident. That doesn’t hold water—these incidents are inherently political, and must be dealt with in a political framework. But Trump’s response—to immediately stump for himself as a savior strongman, denigrate Obama, and incite fear and hatred of Muslims—was tactless and crass even by his standards.
It continued in appearances this morning on NBC’s Today show, Fox News, and CNN, when Trump—in full media tour mode—implied that perhaps Obama had torn allegiances when it came to fighting Islamic terrorism. Here’s the video from NBC:
Among the choice quotes Trump dropped:
“We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind…And the something else in mind, you know, people can’t believe it, people cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism’...There’s something going on — it’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”
It doesn’t take much to read between the lines, but in case you missed the point, he just accused Obama of being a Muslim sleeper agent.
“There are a lot of people who think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. A lot of people think maybe he doesn’t want to know about it,” he said on Today.
This is actually insane—as Sam Stein of The Huffington Post pointed out on Twitter, it’s the equivalent of a Democratic congressman accusing Bush of masterminding 9/11 the day after the attacks. It’s also a targeted message, designed to appeal to nationalists and racists, and designed to increase their numbers in the U.S. On CNN he cemented the us vs. them mentality by asserting that the Muslim community—from neighborhoods to mosques—is knowingly harboring potential terrorists.
The formula here is simple: Stoke fear, and assert himself as the only man who can fix the problem and keep us safe. To Donald Trump, 50 deaths in Orlando is not a tragedy, but a great opportunity to push an increasingly terrifying agenda.