Trump’s Deputy’s Response to the Minnesota Mosque Bombing Is So Much Worse Than the Silence That Preceded It

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This past weekend, a homemade explosive device went off in a Minnesota mosque. Thankfully, miraculously, no one was injured. Minnesota’s governor Mark Dayton has condemned the action, calling it what it very clearly is: an act of terrorism. But take a wild guess as to who hasn’t addressed the bombing, who hasn’t said one word about the explosion. Yup, you guessed it, the anthropomorphized tanning bed night light sitting in the White House a golf course in New Jersey.

But after watching Trump’s deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka address the bombing on MSNBC (above), I long for silence. Because Gorka’s response is utterly despicable.

When asked by Ali Velshi and Stephanie Ruhle why Trump and the White House haven’t issued a statement, Gorka responded, “There’s a great rule: All initial reports are false.”

I swear, turn back now if you don’t want to risk punching your computer or throwing your phone into the sewer.

“You have to check them and find out who the perpetrators are,” he went on. “We’ve had a series of crimes committed, alleged hate crimes by right wing individuals in the last six months that turned out to be prop propagated by the left. Let’s allow the local authorities to provide their assessment and then the White House will make its comments.”

This week, the FBI announced that the hundred or so bomb threats we’ve seen this year made against Jewish schools and community centers were the act of an Israeli teen operating a “bomb threat business” on the dark web. Presumably, that’s what Gorka was referencing.

For Trump to use that as a cover to allow him to put off recognizing what happened in Minnesota is atrocious. And as Ruhle says, “You don’t have to make a statement about who did it but you can make a statement denouncing how terrible it is to attack a building of worship.”

In case you don’t want to watch the video (I encourage you not to), just know that every word of Gorka’s is dripping with smarmy disdain. He responded “That’s fine and I’m sure the president will do that.” Except no it’s not and will he really?

Ruhle and Velshi continue to press Gorka on why Trump is being so very cautious on jumping to conclusions with this particular attack, obviously looking for the winning answer of “because they’re Muslim.” Could there be another reason? As the hosts point out, Trump didn’t “allow the local authorities to provide their assessment” after the recent attack in London.

Or the one in Paris.

Or last year in Orlando.

Or so many others.

But those all fit the narrative of terrorism = Muslim/Islamist (do we think Trump knows the difference?), preferably in a majority-white country, perpetrated against white Christians.

Because let’s take a look at what Trump didn’t immediately condemn: this mosque attack; months of JCC bomb threats; the Portland attack that left two men dead at the hands of white supremacists on a MAX train.

Gorka says the difference is that “Sometimes an attack is unequivocally clear for what it is. When somebody shouts Allahu Akbar as they’re stabbing a police officer, it’s pretty clear it’s not a case of the mafia robbing a bank, wouldn’t you say so?” Except a very real bomb thrown into a very real mosque is also not a case of mafia bank robbery. Neither is a large community being harassed and threatened for months (no matter the perpetrators or the outcome). Neither are white supremacists’ acts of violence and intimidation targeting young women of color. Trump only applies the “wait & see” mentality when it doesn’t fit his agenda.

Ultimately, Gorka says he’s “not going to give social media advice to a man who won the election in large part thanks to his understanding of social media and to destroy the fake news industrial complex about who will win the last election.” At this point, I know it’s fruitless to point out that “social media advice” and official White House statements condemning domestic terrorism should not be the same thing, but I’m not sure which entry point to aim at in entering the cyclical hellscape of official American policy/Trump’s tweets/Kellyanne Conway shaming the media for paying too much attention to said tweets.

Gorka’s advice for all of us is to “Hold your horses and count to ten and the president will do what he deems fit.” In response, please join me in a giant, collective “Go-rka fuck yourself.” A bomb was thrown into a mosque. Horses are not being held and no one trusts Trump to do anything “fit.”

(via MSNBC, image: screengrab)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.