Donald Trump has spent the past 24 hours giving vent to the frustration of millions of Americans over a very specific type of political correctness, and he’s only upping the ante today. Trump reacted in anger yesterday when Barack Obama’s statement on the terrorist attack in Orlando omitted what seems more and more obvious — that the attack was motivated by radical Islam. Trump slammed Obama in multiple interviews today for refusing to name the motivation behind the attacks, suggesting that the president “resign in disgrace” and that his actions will result in even more attacks:
Donald Trump said Monday morning that attacks like the one that left 50 people dead in a gay nightclub in Orlando this weekend will continue to happen “many times over” if President Obama doesn’t start calling it “radical Islamic terrorism.”
“Believe me, all I want is safety, I want safety for this country,” Trump told “CBS This Morning” in a phone interview. “What happened yesterday will happen many times over with a president like Obama that doesn’t even want to use the term ‘radical Islamic terrorism.'”
He again hit Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton for not using the term, which Trumpsaid on Twitter Sunday should be cause for Mr. Obama to resign and Clinton to drop out of the presidential race.
“Hillary won’t use [the term] and the reason Hillary won’t use it is she’s afraid to offend her boss because she doesn’t want to go to jail,” he said.
The motivation appears pretty clear now. The New York Daily News reported today that Omar Mateen called 911 from a bathroom to pledge his allegiance to ISIS shortly after beginning the attack in Pulse, eventually killing 49 people in the LGBTQ nightclub. “There was an allegiance to the Islamic State,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina told the media. Mateen’s father has spent the last several years supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan on television and Facebook.
Perhaps Obama didn’t know all of this at the time of the statement, but he had to have been briefed by the FBI on their three interviews with Mateen fils prior to the shooting. Those strongly suggest that the FBI was aware of Mateen’s potential for radicalization and threat of terrorism. Even if that were the case, this follows a long string of denial and silence from the Obama White House, which famously waited years before finally acknowledging that the Fort Hood terrorist attack was not just a case of “workplace violence.” Obama has long dissipated the benefit of the doubt on this point.
Another Trump statement this morning has Obama supporters at the Huffington Post unhappy. They accuse Trump of suggesting that Obama has sympathies for — and perhaps connections to — radical Islamist terrorists:
Donald Trump, a renowned conspiracy theorist, was at it again on Monday morning, implying that President Barack Obama harbored some sort of connection, perhaps even sympathies, to Muslims who had committed acts of terror in the United States.
The presumptive GOP nominee made this allegation the morning after the deadliest shooting in modern American history — a slaying of 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando — during an interview on “Fox and Friends.”
“[Obama] doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Trump said of the president’s response to the nightclub shooting. “It’s one or the other. And either one is unacceptable.”
Trump spent years questioning Obama’s birthplace prior to running for president. So while Monday’s statement may be jarring, it’s not altogether surprising.
Eh, Trump’s not usually that subtle in his attacks. When Trump launches those kinds of attacks, he launches them directly and without any room for misunderstanding, for better or worse. When Trump accused George W. Bush of lying about Iraq to get us into a war for oil and of selling the US out to the Saudis, I suspect many of the same people clutching pearls over this vague rhetorical construct were cheering loudly from the sidelines. That applies to Trump’s birther attacks four years ago, too — Trump didn’t pussyfoot around the point, but made the accusation explicit. If these critics wait long enough, perhaps Trump will say exactly what they accuse him of implying, so they’re better off waiting for it.
Trump himself explained later that what he meant by “something going on” with Obama was willful blindness:
During an appearance on the “Today” show later Monday morning, Savannah Guthrie pushed Trump to explain what he meant in the earlier interview.
“Well there are a lot of people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it,” Trump said. “A lot of people think maybe he doesn’t want to know about it. I happen to think that he just doesn’t know what he’s doing, but there are many people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. He doesn’t want to see what’s really happening. And that could be.”
Guthrie asked Trump why that would be, and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee responded: “Because Savannah, Savannah, why isn’t he addressing the issue? He’s not addressing the issue. He’s not calling it what it is. This is radical Islamic terrorism. This isn’t fighting Germany; this isn’t fighting Japan, where they wear uniforms.”
This attack may not win Trump any new converts, but it will perhaps get the interventionist wing of the GOP to warm up to Trump a little more. If nothing else, it forces the media to cover the lack of definition coming from the White House on the enemy we face in ISIS and in radical Islamist terrorism, rather than allow the narrative to shift to “hate crimes” in its place.