Trump immediately politicizes Egypt mosque attack

This has nothing to do with walls or travel bans.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On Friday morning, following a terrifying attack at a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that left an estimated 235 people dead, President Donald Trump reacted to the news by condemning the attackers and “terrorism” in general on Twitter.

“Horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshipers in Egypt,” he tweeted. “The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!”

It was a straightforward response with no obvious policy under- or overreactions.

However, about four hours later — after golfing at his resort in Florida with Tiger Woods — Trump returned to form, tweeting an update that included misdirected policy overreactions, news about a planned phone call to the Egyptian president, and several questionable all-caps font decisions.


“Will be calling the President of Egypt in a short while to discuss the tragic terrorist attack, with so much loss of life,” he wrote. “We have to get TOUGHER AND SMARTER than ever before, and we will. Need the WALL, need the BAN! God bless the people of Egypt.”

Trump somehow concluded, from an attack by extremists on Muslim worshipers in the Middle East, that the United States needed to build a wall along its southern border with Mexico to keep them out, and that the country also needed to ban entire religious groups or citizens from certain countries.

Experts say that implementing the so-called “Muslim ban” is exactly what ISIS wants — a recruitment tool and a reason to argue for the escalation of hostilities before their target audiences. Banning entire nations’ citizens from entering the country compromises U.S. national security, the integrity of the Iran nuclear deal, the tactical fight against ISIS, and many other issues important to the United States as well.


Walls, according to many experts, are also not rational solutions to increase the security of the United States, and can have their own unintended consequences — aside from being unnecessarily costly and logistically cumbersome.

This bifurcated Twitter response following the attack in Egypt is similar to Trump’s dual reactions to the attack on civilians in Barcelona — an initial sober statement followed by a subsequent dramatic reaction, which in the latter case recommended people “study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught.” (The historically dubious tale involves the U.S. Army dipping bullets in pig blood to slaughter Muslims in the Philippines, and is not something to be expected as a military strategy in the modern world.)

Trump also has a penchant for quickly condemning the perpetrators of attacks on civilians when he suspects the suspect to be nonwhite, while slowly, more sedately condemning the suspects of attacks who are white.