In America, it’s only a matter of time before someone turns a tragedy into a political opportunity. And by “someone,” we mean the President.
Less than 24 hours after an ISIS-supporting terrorist rammed his pickup truck through a crowded bike path in downtown Manhattan, killing 8 and injuring 11 others, President Trump found a way to blame the attack on Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer.
In a series of tweets Wednesday morning, The Donald attacked the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program,” which Schumer helped shape in 1990, and which allowed Tuesday’s attacker to enter the United States from Uzbekistan in 2010.
Those keeping score will remember that Trump also criticized immigration policies and radical Muslims after horrific, deadly shootings by Muslims in Orlando and San Bernardino. However, when the nation faced a homegrown attack from a non-immigrant in Las Vegas recently, Sarah Suckabee Sanders found a different way to respond to journalists bringing up the issue of gun control (the obvious connecting thread):
“We’ve been focused on the fact that we had a severe tragedy in our country,” she said. “And this is a day of mourning, a time of bringing our country together, and that’s been the focus of the administration this morning.”
It seems that the Trump administration is totally fine pushing a political agenda following a tragedy as long as that agenda involves keeping non-Americans and brown people out of the United States.
Trump, who is not famous for his extensive political knowledge, seemed to draft his tweet only 14 minutes after a Wednesday morning segment of “Fox & Friends” made the exact same point. Considering that Trump’s daily news digest is reportedly filtered by his aides — and he without a doubt watches “Fox & Friends” — it’s entirely possible that “Fox & Friends” is now providing all of Trump’s counter-terrorism talking points. Think about it: How else would Trump be able to name the “Diversity Visa Lottery Program” off the top of his head? The man can’t even think in complete sentences.
In any case, it was a lazy point for Fox & Friends — sorry, Trump — to make, as Schumer shaped the bill decades ago and has since supported newer variations of it. Schumer just happens to be an easy target because he’s the Senate Minority Leader.
Schumer, for his part, responded to Trump in the classiest way possible:
Tuesday’s terror attack was the deadliest to hit New York City since 9/11, and it has become more and more clear that the problem isn’t our immigration policies but our allocation of anti-terrorism funding. Rather than spend $150,000 a day to let Melania stay in her gold-plated penthouse in New York, this administration should consider funding those New York police officers who put their life on the line on Tuesday to protect their peers and fellow citizens.