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Sun Dec 8, 2019, 06:51 PM

Following the Pensacola shooting, Trump auditions as Saudi Arabia's press secretary

Source: Washington Post

Following the Pensacola shooting, Trump auditions as Saudi Arabia’s press secretary

By Max Boot
Columnist
12/8/2019, 1:53:11 p.m.

President Trump has long held a double standard when it comes to terrorist attacks: When the perpetrator is a white supremacist, he offers anodyne expressions of sympathy for the victims (often “thoughts and prayers”), while typically failing to label the attack an act of terrorism. When the perpetrator is a Muslim, however, he is vitriolic in his denunciations and his calls for a massive response, such as stopping all Muslims from entering the United States. After a car plowed into pedestrians in London on Aug. 14, 2018, for example, he tweeted: “Another terrorist attack in London... These animals are crazy and must be dealt with through toughness and strength!”

It turns out that Trump actually has a triple standard, because he treats attacks by Saudis differently than those from other Muslim nations. On Friday, a Saudi air force officer studying at the Naval Air Station Pensacola shot dead three Americans and wounded eight others. Instead of expressing outrage or vowing vengeance, or even waiting for all the facts to come in, Trump sounded as if he were auditioning for the job of press secretary at the Saudi Embassy. He conveyed King Salman’s “sincere condolences” and his (highly questionable) assurances “that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.” Trump then told reporters that the king “will take care of the families and loved ones of the victims.”

Sorry, but Americans don’t need blood money from the Saudis. What they need are honest answers to figure out what happened and why. It has been reported that the attacker had screened videos of previous mass shootings with fellow Saudi students at Pensacola; that before the attack he had posted online criticism of Israel and of America’s “invasion” of foreign countries, suggesting he may have been inspired by al-Qaeda; and that some of his fellow Saudi students filmed the attack. There is enough evidence for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R.-Fla.), a fervent Trump supporter who represents Pensacola, to label the attack an act of terrorism. But Trump, who never hesitates to throw out the “T” word after other attacks by Muslims, refuses to do so in this case.

This is, of course, only the latest example of Trump’s suspicious partiality to Saudi Arabia — the site of his first trip abroad as president. Trump has taken Saudi Arabia’s side as it has blockaded Qatar, the home of a large U.S. military base; caused a humanitarian tragedy with its bombing of Yemen; and even murdered and dismembered Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Congress was so outraged by Saudi atrocities — both against Yemen and Khashoggi — that it passed legislation to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Trump vetoed the bills. And even while abandoning the Kurds who fought with U.S. troops to defeat the Islamic State, Trump has sent thousands of U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia, a deployment that in the past has inflamed jihadist sentiment.

-snip-

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/12/08/following-pensacola-shooting-trump-auditions-saudi-arabias-press-secretary/

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