The bodies of the seven people slain in a grisly terrorist attack in London over the weekend had yet to cool—literally—before the political food fight began.
There will be plenty of time to debate Islamic terrorism and the appropriate public policy responses to this and other events, but it's both prudent and tasteful to resist pontificating and finger-pointing until evidence is gathered and victims are mourned. Sadly, many people in our culture today seem to lack the basic restraint and manners to do so.
Here is an example of what I’m talking about.
1. President Donald Trump
It starts with Trump. He retweeted a Drudge Report link breaking news of the attack – reportedly before he had officially been briefed on the matter. This is neither prudent nor presidential. Matters were further exacerbated by a subsequent tweet from the president (see below).
2. Bette Midler
Midler manages to insult about 90 percent of the world here. She probably thought she was playing it safe by lumping all religion together. If she had said the word “Islam” instead of "religion" that would have been considered bigoted.
Think about that for a minute: Condemning 1.5 Muslims for the actions of three men is bigoted. Blaming 6.3 billion people who profess religious faith is just fine.
3. & 4. Trump and CNN host Reza Aslan
Trump manages to make the list twice by pushing his travel ban in the immediate wake of the London attack. There may or may not be reasons for nations to consider changes in their immigration policies because of potential threats, but plugging one’s policy on the corpses of seven slain victims is bad form.
CNN contributor Reza Aslan, however, managed to one-up Trump, referring to the president as a “piece of [excrement].”
5. Rosie O’Donnell
True to form, O’Donnell, whose bitter feud with Trump goes back years, reportedly used the slayings to plug for the president's impeachment, though she apparently misspelled some of her hashtags.
“it can’t get worse. u being president is the WORST #REISIT #REMOVE #ARREST POTS45.”
[Editor’s Note: The alleged tweet no longer appears on O’Donnell’s feed. We’ve asked her to verify the veracity of the tweet and will update if she responds.]
6. Richard Spencer
Richard Spencer, the darling of the alt-right, used the tragedy to brag about his ancestral prowess and proclaim that England needs people like him.
7. Gabrielle Giffords
The former Congresswoman from Arizona responded to a terrorist attack in which knives were used by plugging gun control:
Don't get me wrong: People have a right to say all of these things. The question is whether it's proper to do so in these circumstances. I think most of us would agree that people should exercise a little self-restraint, a little prudence, and resist the temptation to exploit tragedies for political points – especially in a vitriolic manner.
Image Credit: Jason Chatting, Gage Skidmore, Alan Light. Creative Commons 2.0 and 3.0 Licenses.