Just hours after Saturday night’s London Bridge terror attack, President Donald Trump took to his favourite medium, Twitter, to criticise Sadiq Khan over a comment the Mayor of London had made about increased police presence on the capital’s streets.
Insisting political correctness was to blame for the tragedy, Trump tweeted: “We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people.
“If we don’t get smart it will only get worse.”
Taking the Mayor’s comments out of context, Trump added: “At least seven dead and 48 wounded in [a] terror attack and [the] Mayor of London says ‘there is no reason to be alarmed’.”
We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don't get smart it will only get worse— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is "no reason to be alarmed!"— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 4, 2017
As many people were quick to point out, Trump had incorrectly quoted Khan’s interview with the BBC on Sunday (4 May), the day after the attack, in which Khan said: “There aren’t words to describe the grief and anger that our city will be facing today. I’m appalled and furious that these cowardly terrorists would deliberately target innocent Londoners.
“There can be no justification for the acts of these terrorists and I am quite clear that we will never let them win.
“My message to Londoners and visitors to our great city is to be calm and vigilant today. You will see an increased police presence today, including armed officers and uniformed officers. There is no reason to be alarmed by this. We are the safest global city in the world. You saw last night as a consequence of our planning, our preparation, the rehearsals that take place, the swift response from the emergency services tackling the terrorists and also helping the injured.”
Author JK Rowling led the charge against Trump’s comments, tweeting: “It’s called ‘leadership’, Donald. The terrorists were dead eight minutes after police got the call.”
The Harry Potter creator scathingly added: “If we need an alarmist blowhard, we’ll call.”
And Rowling was not the only celebrity to skewer Trump over his comments. Actor Mayim Bialik, from The Big Bang Theory, also called him out, writing: “You know nothing. How dare you act like you do. I can’t even. I need a drink.”
She later added: “You are not equipped to be the President. I’m so sorry you are our President it makes me cry.”
You know nothing. How dare you act like you do. I can't even. I need a drink.— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) June 4, 2017
You are not equipped to be the President. I'm so sorry you are our President it makes me cry.— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) June 4, 2017
Star Trek’s George Takei, meanwhile, corrected Trump, writing: “[Khan] said there was no reason to be alarmed by the increased police presence over the next few days, you hare-brained miscreant. Sit down.”
Beauty and the Beast’s Josh Gad apologised to UK citizens on behalf of the US President, writing: “Please know that many of us are ashamed. Ashamed, angry and sick.
“But America is not Trump. It is what you see those of us do in spite of him.”
Khan has not addressed Trump’s comments directly, although a spokesperson for the London Mayor did release a statement on Twitter.
“The Mayor is busy working with the police, emergency services, and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack and provide leadership and reassurance to Londoners and visitors to our city,” it read.
Emphasising that Khan has “more important things to do” than worry about what Trump has to say about him, the statement added: “He has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump’s ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police – including armed officers – on the streets.”
On Saturday 3 June, a white van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge at around 10pm.
Three knife-wielding suspects wearing fake bomb vests then exited the vehicle and began stabbing people nearby. Within eight minutes of being called to the scene, armed police had shot all three of the attackers dead.
Police say at least seven people were killed in the attack, and 48 others were taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries. Twenty-one people are in a critical condition.
Speaking about the attack, Prime Minister Theresa May said that we “cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are” as she set out measures to tackle terrorism in response to the attack.
She went on to add that there must now be greater regulation of the internet and that existing online “safe spaces” that allow terrorism to “breed” must be eradicated.
Images: Rex Features