LONDON, ENGLAND - World leaders are speaking out following Saturday's terror attack in London that left seven people dead and dozens of others injured. While most of their statements included heartfelt expressions of support, there was one world leader that stuck out among the crowd, but not for the right reasons; U.S. President Donald Trump.
World reaction to the attack
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted "My thoughts go out to the victims and their other loved ones."
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a statement, "We are united across all borders in horror and sadness, but equally in determination.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted information for Canadians in London who may need help.
However, unlike other world leaders, U.S. President Donald Trump chose to use the terror attack to push a political agenda, attacking everything from rulings against his travel ban to gun control.
Here's a rundown of the President's statements.
6:10PM Saturday: Trump retweets unconfirmed information
President Trump's first public acknowledgment of the attack came Saturday night, when he retweeted a headline from the Drudge Report filled with unconfirmed information. Shortly afterwards, the U.K. Metropolitan Police Department sent a tweet of their own, telling people to follow them for information on the attack and to stop spreading rumors.
Even here in the states the President's choice to share the report was called out by NBC News for fanning the flames of fear by relaying unconfirmed information.
6:17PM Saturday: Trump uses attack in attempt to justify travel ban
Shortly after retweeting the Drudge Report link, President Trump tried to use the terror attack as a justification for his travel ban, which has been in legal limbo seemingly since it was written earlier this year. For months the president has called the travel ban necessary to protect our national security and the terror attack may have seemed to Trump like a great opportunity to drive that point home.
However, at the time of the president's tweet, British authorities hadn't even confirmed whether or not the attack was related to terrorism. They also had no information on who the attackers were and how they came to London. So it's wasn't really appropriate to use the attack as an example of what could happen in America without a travel ban.
There's also a big difference between the U.K. and the U.S. when it comes to the emigration of refugees from the Middle East. Because England and the rest of Europe shares a land mass with the Middle East, European countries have found it difficult to control their borders.
The U.S., on the other hand, can only be reached by plane from Europe and the Middle East. So we can put all the refugees that apply to come to our country through a strict vetting process before they ever set foot on American soil. It's a luxury that Europe simply does not have.
6:24PM Saturday: Trump offers U.S. support to London
Just seven minutes after tweeting about the attack in the context of his travel ban, Trump made an abrupt turn and expressed the country's willingness to help out London in any way possible.
However, it will be difficult for the U.S. to provide the same kind of support it has shown foreign countries following acts of terror in the past. The U.S. currently doesn't have an FBI Director and there are a number of unfilled positions at nearly every level of the State Department. The shorthanded staff, no matter how good they are, simply won't be able to provide the same kind of support the U.S. was once known for.
6:19AM Sunday: Trump attacks political correctness
6:31AM Sunday: Trump takes London Mayor's comments out of context
Despite his Saturday night tweet telling England that the U.S. is with them, President Trump chose to go after London Mayor Sadiq Kahn's comments about the attack early Sunday morning. Instead of standing beside the Mayor and making a statement condemning the acts of terror Trump chose to sound the alarm bells by taking Kahn's comment completely out of context. Trump's tweet makes it seem that Kahn is downplaying the very terrorism that just struck his city. However, Kahn's "no reason to be alarmed," quote was not talking about terrorism, but an increased police presence over the next few days.
Here is the full quote:
“Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. No reason to be alarmed. One of the things, the police, all of us need to do, is make sure we’re as safe as we possibly can be. I’m reassured that we are one of the safest global cities in the world, if not the safest global city in the world, but we always evolve and review ways to make sure that we remain as safe as we possibly can.”
- London Mayor Sadiq Kahn
6:43AM Sunday: Trump makes point on gun control, just not the one he was trying to make
Trump's final tweet on the attack made a point on gun control, but it might not have been the one the president was trying to make. It's a popular NRA talking point to say that in a world without guns criminals would just use other weapons. However, the terror attack in London shows just how much strict gun control can prevent mass casualties.
Unlike the U.S. the U.K. has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world. According to the University of Sydney's gun policy project there are fewer than 4 guns for every 100 people in the U.K. However, in the U.S. there are more guns than there are people.
So consider this, if the attackers had the same kind of access to guns seen here in the states, and they jumped out of their truck with assault rifles or even handguns instead of blades, things would have undoubtedly turned out much worse.