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Donald Trump Treads Dangerous Ground With His Pronouncements

terror attacks 2016, statements of 2 Presidents
Donald Trump at the New Hampshire Town Hall at Pinkerton Academy last year.

Even before he became President-elect, Donald Trump broke every rule in the book as far as cautionary statements went. Less than a month before he is inaugurated, he is still treading dangerous ground with his statements.

Trump and outgoing President Obama had what was an overall pleasant meeting at the White House after the election. Just after the attack on a Christmas market in Berlin, however, statements from the two revealed which one of them leans towards tact and diplomacy.  Their reactions to the attacks exemplify how viewpoints of Presidents can differ significantly.

Differing Views of Men in the Oval Office

The Obama administration was full of caution, referring to the Berlin incident as what “appears to have been a terrorist attack” and declaring Germany as one of the closest allies of the U.S. whereas Trump’s camp called it “a horrifying terror attack” and categorized those killed in Berlin with other “Christians” continually slaughtered by ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.

When Trump tweeted, “Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!”  he lumped three separate, unconnected events that he categorized as a terror attack.  One of his social media followers tweeted back, “You start from hate, not from fact. You start from a conclusion, not from wisdom.”

In the same thread, another commenter noted that facts do matter, mentioning that the incident in Switzerland appeared not to have an apparent link to organized terror.

The contrast in stance between Trump and Obama is even sharper in their response to the Ankara attacks. While Obama’s statement said nothing about the assassin’s faith, Trump referred to him as “a radical Islamic terrorist.”

Two U.S. Presidents but with varying reactions to acts of violence. What this bodes for the United States, only time will tell.

Trading Taunts With a Former President

In the United States, there has been a long tradition of Presidents displaying mutual respect with one another as if in deference to some fraternal protocol. This is to be expected from men who have tenured in the Oval Office and shared the responsibility of leading a nation.

That is one of the unwritten rules or norms abandoned by Donald Trump,  noted scholar Thomas E. Mann of the Brookings Institution. Mann’s comment came after Trump made use of social media again to engage in a spat with former President Bill Clinton. Trump’s anger was triggered – yet again – when Clinton was paraphrased by a newspaper as stating that Trump does not know much except getting angry, white men to vote for him.

The President-elect countered by tweeting that he does not know much except “how to get people, even with an unlimited budget, out to vote in the vital swing states.”

Of course, as a President-elect – to be pertained to as someone who does not know much would certainly rankle. Except that the rule of law states that if you did not actually hear a person say something against you, it amounts to hearsay and must not be given due consideration. At the very least, Trump himself could have refrained from reacting negatively considering he is now President-elect.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

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