Trump rushed to condemn NYC attack—like he always does when the suspect isn’t white

The president's reactions to tragedies again prove to be different when the suspect is non-white.

Emergency personnel transport a man on a stretcher after a motorist drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial and struck several people Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Emergency personnel transport a man on a stretcher after a motorist drove onto a busy bicycle path near the World Trade Center memorial and struck several people Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

President Donald Trump wasted no time responding to the deadly truck incident that claimed the lives of 8 people and injured 11 more in lower Manhattan Tuesday afternoon.

Just over two hours after the attack took place, the president called the suspect a “very sick and deranged person,” offering no condolences to families of the individuals who died.

Just an hour later, when many key details are still unknown, the president connected the incident to ISIS.

Less than a half hour later, Trump offered his condolences to the victims and their families, but not without describing the incident as a “terrorist attack.”

While New York City law enforcement officials told the New York Times that the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” when exiting the vehicle, there has been no official connection made to any kind of terrorism associated with ISIS or otherwise. The FBI has taken over the case and is actively looking into it as a terrorism investigation.

Advertisement

This kind of swift rush to judgement by Trump isn’t unprecendented, he has a proclivity to immediately respond to incidents with non-white suspects as “terrorist attacks.”

This past September, after an explosion hit the London underground system, Trump quickly blamed the incident on a “loser terrorist” and promoted his travel ban, which at the time targeted refugees and citizens from six Muslim-majority nations.

After a van hit pedestrians in Barcelona, Spain this August, Trump quickly described it as a terror attack as well, before the identity or motive of the suspect was known.

Soon after, he tweeted again — this time reviving an Islamophobic myth about General John Joseph Pershing, claiming Pershing killed Muslims with bullets soaked in pig’s blood in the Philippines.

And after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history claimed the lives of more than 58 people in Las Vegas in early October, Trump tweeted out his “warmest condolences and sympathies.”

The difference being, of course, that at the time current reports indicated that the Las Vegas shooter was a white male named Stephen Paddock.

Advertisement

Many media outlets are following the president’s lead by labeling the incident as a terrorist attack, though it isn’t known yet exactly the NYPD is using as evidence to declare the incident as an “act of terror,” as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) described it. Terrorism experts have commented in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting that America has a skewed perception as to what constitutes “terrorism,” omitting that word when describing white suspects and reserving it for non-white suspects.