Pay no attention to the president's tweetstorms.
President Donald Trump’s Twitter habits came under even more scrutiny over the weekend as he posted visceral and misleading statements about the terrorist attack in London in its immediate aftermath. At one point, Trump posted a tweet that indicated London Mayor Sadiq Khan had belittled the severity of the attack, but Trump’s message took Khan’s comments out of context.
When asked about Trump’s controversial remarks in an interview on Monday’s Today Show, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway decried the media for its “obsession with covering everything [Trump] says on Twitter and very little of what he does as president.”
On early Sunday morning, the president tweeted: “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!'” indicating that Khan was belittling the severity of the attacks.
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A full reading of Khan’s statement shows that he was telling Londoners there was “no need to be alarmed” at the heavier police presence they will see in the days ahead—not at the attack itself.
That tweet followed Trump’s first direct response to the attack Saturday night, which was a post referencing the incident as proof that the U.S. needs the “travel ban” he signed that restricts citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. Courts have put the order on hold on the grounds that it’s unconstitutional.
Today Show host Savannah Guthrie asked Conway on Monday whether the president should apologize to Khan for tweeting a political attack shortly after the incident and for his misquote of Khan.
Conway insisted that Trump’s tweets didn’t constitute “a political attack” and shifted attention to the president’s conversations with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, during which the president “announced his support for the U.K. people.”
“He said we will get these people and bring them to justice and these bloodbaths have to stop,” Conway said.
When pressed further on Trump’s tweets, Conway said she wasn’t going to “let [the president] be seen as the perpetrator here,” and argued that the media should be less focused on Trump’s social media presence and the on-going Russia scandal and more concerned about the recent string of attacks ISIS has either inspired or directed.
Guthrie argued that as president, Trump’s statements on Twitter carry a great deal of weight and are considered a reflection of his agenda.
Like previous Twitter outbursts, Trump’s vociferous postings over the weekend seemed to undermine statements he and his administration have made in the past. His use of the term “travel ban,” for instance, contradicts a statement by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly who denied the executive order constituted a “ban.” It’s a “travel pause,” he said in May.
Trump seemed to acknowledge that his initial “travel ban” tweet was seen as a misstep in yet another post on Monday, but he was unapologetic about it.