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Trump uses London attacks to push divisive agenda

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

world Updated: Jun 04, 2017 23:11 IST
Yashwant Raj
Demonstrator Annette Lievers carries a sign concerning a recent Trump tweet as she joined about 200 demonstrators before a town hall meeting in San Juan Capistrano, California, on Saturday.
Demonstrator Annette Lievers carries a sign concerning a recent Trump tweet as she joined about 200 demonstrators before a town hall meeting in San Juan Capistrano, California, on Saturday.(AFP)

US president Donald Trump assailed political correctness, London’s Muslim mayor and gun control in the aftermath of the Saturday night carnage in London and sought to use it to call for support for his controversial “travel ban" that has been struck down as discriminatory by multiple courts.

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people,” he wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “If we don't get smart it will only get worse.” He didn’t elaborate, but political correctness in his world is usually meant to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism”.

And it also links up to his “travel ban” — which he called so despite insisting in the past that it was not a “travel ban” — that seeks to prevent people from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States till the time a more rigorous system of vetting visitors was put in place.

The administration has tried that twice — the second attempt was narrower than the first, with the number of targeted countries down from seven to six — but was denied both times by courts.

“We need to be smart, vigilant and tough,” Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday as news broke of the London attacks. “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

The nationality of the attackers remains unclear, if they indeed were of foreign origin.

The president’s attack on London mayor Sadiq Khan — they have clashed before — was specially egregious, based as it was on selective manipulation of the latter’s words. Trump wrote: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”

But here is what the mayor had actually said: “Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There's no reason to be alarmed.” He was only trying to reassure Londoners, and not selling them a new normal about living with terrorism.

The criticism was swift and brutal, both sides of the Atlantic. “It's called 'leadership', Donald,” J K Rowling, the British author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series, wrote on Twitter. “The terrorists were dead 8 minutes after police got the call. If we need an alarmist blowhard, we'll call.”

In the United States, Joe Scarborough, a former Republican lawmaker and TV news show host, posted a tweet with Khan’s picture, “America stands by your side, regardless of the unspeakable insensitivity of some. Your great city has our support and our prayers!”

Trump also sought to use the tragedy in London to assail gun control supporters in the United States. “Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now? That's because they used knives and a truck!,” he wrote in his final post for the morning before taking off for a local golf course.