Forty-two. That’s the number of times President Donald Trump has posted from his two Twitter accounts since Indian engineer Srinivas Kuchibhotla was shot and killed in an apparent hate crime in Kansas.
In those tweets, Trump has tackled a range of issues, from his usual fulminations against “fake news” from The New York Times to ending job-killing regulations to seven people killed in gun violence in Chicago’s deadliest day of the year so far.
But there wasn’t a single word on Kuchibhotla, 32, attacked by a man who reportedly yelled “get out of my country” before he began firing.
Nor should we expect anything from Trump, what with White House spokesman Sean Spicer saying it would be “absurd” to link the engineer’s death to the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.
In an era of “America first”, this is the new normal. A president obsessed with how the US media depicts him, even on comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live, had little to worry about as the shooting didn’t get wall-to-wall coverage in America.
And it’s rather obvious from media reports that Trump really doesn’t read much, leave alone the possibility of him reading the Indian media’s coverage of the shock and outrage at the death of Kuchibhotla.
At a time when Trump is talking about bringing jobs offshored by American firms back home and reviewing visa programmes such as the H-1B, under which Kuchibhotla and his colleague Alok Madasani were in the US, it’s hardly likely that he would be talking about the rights of foreign workers.
And despite Trump’s talk of “we love India”, let’s not forget he hasn’t even spoken on the anti-semitism that is sweeping the US.
The only silver lining here is that despite Trump’s divisive rhetoric both during and after his explosive campaign, there are still ordinary folks in the US such as Ian Grillot, who are willing to do the right thing.
(The views expressed by the writer are personal. He tweets as @rezhasan.)