President Donald Trump sure seems to respond differently to terrorist attacks when we know they’ve been committed by a white supremacist.
On Thursday, Trump acknowledged an attack by a van in Barcelona, Spain, as “a terror attack” — about three hours after reports of the attack began popping up on social media. So far, we don’t know if a jihadist carried out the attack, but police have said that they’re investigating it as a terror attack.
The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
About 45 minutes later, Trump tweeted about “Radical Islamic Terror.” (The reference to Gen. John Joseph Pershing in this tweet, by the way, is false.)
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Compare that to how Trump reacted to a similar attack by a Nazi sympathizer in Charlottesville.
The attack happened shortly before 2 pm. Trump did not mention the car attack at all in his press conference around 3:30 pm, when he blamed “many sides” for the violence and chaos in the city but didn’t name the white supremacists who were behind the violence. He then took more than six hours to acknowledge the attack, tweeting at 7:25 pm his “[c]ondolences to the family of the young woman killed today.” And he himself has yet to call it a terrorist attack, although some in his administration have.
Condolences to the family of the young woman killed today, and best regards to all of those injured, in Charlottesville, Virginia. So sad!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
Trump defended his slow reaction to Charlottesville in general by saying he was merely waiting to “know the facts.” With a lot of information still not out about the Barcelona attack — we don’t even know who the perpetrator was or what his or her motives were — it’s not clear why that doesn’t apply in this case.
The only difference, it seems, is the attack in Charlottesville was carried out by a white supremacist, while Trump seems to believe the Barcelona attack was carried out by a jihadist.