Most presidential candidates, even if they’re criticizing their opponents as weak on defense, don’t actually predict future attacks on Americans. But then there’s Donald Trump.
Friday morning, in a laundry list of everything he finds wrong with the United States, the presumptive Republican nominee foreshadowed tragedy: "More attacks will follow Orlando," he tweeted.
People very unhappy with Crooked Hillary and Obama on JOBS and SAFETY! Biggest trade deficit in many years! More attacks will follow Orlando— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 17, 2016
And this isn’t the first time:
What has happened in Orlando is just the beginning. Our leadership is weak and ineffective. I called it and asked for the ban. Must be tough— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
This is a rallying cry for voter support – Trump touts himself as the "only" leader who can defeat ISIS – but Trump is also, unfortunately, probably right that Orlando will not be the last mass shooting or ISIS-inspired attack in the US.
Attacks organized or inspired by ISIS have led to the death of more than 1,200 people outside of Iraq and Syria, including three attacks in the US, according to reporting from the New York Times. On Monday, a police officer and his wife were stabbed to death in France in the name of the terror group. Predicting mass shootings, meanwhile, is mathematically almost impossible, as Vox’s Brian Resnick and Javier Zarracina explain:
The sad truth is that the only personal factors that reliably correlate with mass shooters are being young and male. There are a lot of young, angsty men in this country. That makes prediction hard.
The fact that there are so few mass shooters and so many more harmless people makes it actually mathematically impossible to predict who might become a mass shooter.
Trump’s comments speak directly to his foreign policy platform, built on fear of Muslims and immigrants, but they’re also part of his obsession with correctly predicting the future. In the wake of the Orlando shootings, Trump tweeted, "appreciate the congrats on being right on radical Islamic terrorism." Predicting that more attacks will follow will undoubtedly give him the opportunity to once again claim credit.