Reacting to the news that 12 people were killed and dozens more were injured after a truck drove into a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany, President-Elect Donald Trump issued a statement capitalizing on the tragedy and blaming “ISIS and other Islamist terrorists” for the attack – before any hard facts about motives have been released.
Full statement from Trump:
Our hearts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims of today’s horrifying terror attack in Berlin. Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.
As he did frequently throughout his campaign, Trump is again exploiting a tragedy in order to push an anti-Muslim narrative. After all, blaming an entire religion for the senseless violence of a few is a whole lot easier than actually knowing what you’re talking about. It’s a simple way to frame what is a much more complex issue – one Trump likely doesn’t know how to address in a thoughtful, honest way.
Like many of Trump’s “shoot first, aim later” statements following various world tragedies, this one was rooted in no hard evidence. It’s only been hours since news of the attack broke and very little known information has come out.
As Germany’s own interior minister said a short time ago, “There is a psychological effect in the whole country of the choice of words here, and we want to be very, very cautious and operate close to the actual investigation results, not with speculation.”
Caution? Allowing an investigation to play out without running your mouth? What a novel concept.
We may very well learn that the person or people behind this heinous act are ISIS sympathizers who follow the terror group’s warped ideology. What we already know, though, is that Donald Trump doesn’t care one way or the other.
Instead, the incoming president prefers to act quickly and recklessly to exploit tragedies in a way that cannot be undone. It doesn’t matter what the facts end up being – enough people will take Trump’s initial statement as gospel because it’s what both he and they want to believe.
It’ll only help him achieve his campaign promise of banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and isolating and demonizing those who already live in the country.
What’s particularly frightening is that, in one short month, this dangerous man will no longer just be reacting to these tragedies over social media or through a spokesperson. He will be commander-in-chief. He will be in charge of coordinating international responses using the power of his office.
If he doesn’t spend the next 31 days growing up, the United States and the rest of the world are in big trouble.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.