This morning President Trump gave a brief, solemn speech about the shooting in Las Vegas. The focus was not on the details of the attack, but on the sense of loss. “My fellow Americans, we are joined together today in sadness, shock, and grief,” Trump said. After describing the casualty count, Trump added, “It was an act of pure evil.”
The president took a moment to thank the police for their quick action finding the shooter and then turned to the loss of families of the victims. “Hundreds of our fellow citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one, a parent, a child, a brother or sister,” Trump said. He continued, “We cannot fathom their pain. We cannot imagine their loss. To the families of the victims we are praying for you and we are here for you and we ask God to help see you through this very dark period.
“Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words, for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve.”
Trump announced that he would be visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday to meet with first responders and families of the victims.
Trump also spoke about American unity saying, “Our unity cannot be shattered by evil. Our bonds cannot be broken by violence. And though we feel such great anger at the senseless murder of our fellow citizens, it is our love that defines us today and always will forever.
“In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos, some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy but we can take solace knowing that even the darkest space can be brightened by a single light. And even the most terrible despair can be illuminated by a single ray of hope.”
Trump has been judged, sometimes harshly, for his response to tragic situations. In this case, he seems to have started off on the right foot focusing exclusively on the shock of the nation and the loss of the victims. No doubt there will be time for politics later but this is not the moment.
I said on FBN that the Trump speech was eloquent, calling attack evil, urging unity, talking about love, prayer, not a scintilla of politics
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) October 2, 2017
Some Trump critics are looking for something to attack here and seem to be settling on CNN:
Who will win the ignominious “he sounded presidential” prize this time?
— Brian Beutler (@brianbeutler) October 2, 2017
"Pitch perfect," said John King on CNN https://t.co/VzbavMDcLl
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) October 2, 2017
.@CNN showering Trump with adoration for his comments on deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history–no mention he is for unlimited guns
— Jordan (@JordanChariton) October 2, 2017
CNN staff analyst predictably praising Trump's speech. "Everything you'd want to hear." Such fickle bullshitters.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) October 2, 2017
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) October 2, 2017
Two CNN talking heads have called Trump “presidential” before he’s spoken, for not having tweeted much on the LV shooting
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) October 2, 2017
entire CNN panel is just amazed by Trump's teleprompter address
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) October 2, 2017
The desperation of some members of the media to normalize him is stunning. And an utter failure of the Fourth Estate.
— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid 😷 (@JoyAnnReid) October 2, 2017
What a pathetically passive statement from @realDonaldTrump. Denounces "pure evil," offers prayers. Nothing to be done! Unity!
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) October 2, 2017
I’m only pulling tweets from political commentators with thousands of followers but there are hundreds of tweets like this from regular people as well. There’s also outrage over what Trump failed to say:
Trump immediately calls attacks carried out by Muslims "terrorism." But when white people kill Americans Trump wants to wait and see.
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) October 2, 2017
As I write this, we still don’t know what could have motivated the shooter. By definition, terrorism includes a political motive. Maybe the shooter had one, but we don’t know that yet.
Scroll in to 10:50 to view the speech. (Note that the president is out of focus for the first couple minutes here.)