'What Can You Say' About The Paris Attack? Seriously, President Trump?
A Tragedy Deserves More Than A Casual Statement
It can probably safely be said that President Trump has enjoyed being able to step forward and "fix" everything he's seen wrong with America to date. He's jumped on trying to fix what he sees wrong with the North American Free Trade Agreement, he's tried - twice now - to enact a travel ban on individuals of Muslim descent, and he seems to be signing orders of every stripe to "make America great again." He's also dropped bombs on Syria and a purported network of caves containing ISIS soldiers somewhere in Iraq.
However, as legendary CBS newsman Dan Rather said once, that doesn't make him presidential.
It's also certainly not his words that are making him remotely presidential; consider, for instance, the comments made in the aftermath of the most recent shooting attack in Paris at the Champs-Élysées on April 20.
“It looks like another terrorist attack. What can you say? It just never ends,” the President said at a joint news conference with the Italian Prime Minister.
“We have to be strong, we have to be vigilant, and I’ve been saying it for a long time,” Mr. Trump added.
There's a couple things wrong here. First and foremost, saying "what can you say?" in the wake of yet another terror attack in Paris may well be the equivalent of shrugging and saying, "Meh. There'll be another one soon enough." While that may be true, and while it may be also true that society at large hears about a new terror attack at least once every couple of months, saying "what can you say? It just never ends" offers no hope and treats the whole notion of there having been a terror attack - the third such an attack in France within the last couple of years - far too casually. People died. People were terrified, no doubt, while the incident was going on, and the best Trump can muster is "what can you say? It just never ends."
Renew your country's commitment to the war on terror. Call the perpetrator everything and anything under the sun. Do anything other than ask "what can you say?" You sound almost useless with a statement such as that, and that's a really bad thing when you're in charge and representing your country.
As for "I've been saying it for a long time..."
I hate to break it to President Trump, but this isn't about you! We all know how brilliant you think you are, and while we know that you love to talk about yourself and how you're going to be just a wonderful sort of president to cover all sorts of things for your country, commenting how you've been saying "we've got to be strong" and "we've got to be vigilant" when you're supposed to be talking about the tragedy that unfolded in one of your fellow world leaders' country is just insensitivity at its finest.
You've got the world stage, you're supposed to speak about a recent terror attack where a police officer was gunned down, and that's when you decide is the time to comment about how you've been so knowing about how we need to be strong and vigilant?
I Know You Think You're Great But...
Did He Even Think About What Being President Was?
Given his comments and his incessant posturing on Twitter, I seriously wonder if President Trump even knew what he was letting himself in for.
Former vice president Joe Biden expressed the same thing a few months ago when he said that the president had been surprised by the enormity of the role. Not that I'm much better, but I know enough to know it's not like being student council president, where you're trying to make things better for your school. It's not about throwing some high fives around and telling your fellow colleagues that you're going to meet with administration to talk about the possibility of a four day school week or whatever.
And sure, President Trump is bound to make mistakes. Who doesn't?
But almost anyone should know enough to not talk about how you've been talking about our need for strength during a world crisis such as terrorism in the immediate aftermath of a terror attack. That isn't the time to try and get a global pat on the back about how wonderfully awesome and predictive you are. That should be the time to express condolences, to discuss how your country is going to work with the country experiencing the tragedy in order to put an end to things - not a time to basically tell the world that you're awesome.
Doing so makes your country look insensitive.