June 4, 2017


[The president’s post suggested that Mr. Khan was too blasé about the attack. But in a statement he posted on Facebook several hours earlier, the mayor condemned the “sickening attack” committed by “twisted and cowardly terrorists.”]

By Peter Bakerjune
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, seen earlier this year at a service
at Westminster Abbey after an attack on Westminster Bridge.
Credit Pool photo by Eddie Mulholland
WASHINGTON — President Trump assailed political correctness, gun control supporters and the mayor of London on Sunday, arguing that the world needed to be more serious about fighting terrorism a day after seven people were killed and dozens more wounded in the latest attack in Britain.

“We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people,” he wrote on Twitter. “If we don’t get smart it will only get worse.”

Mr. Trump targeted Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, scorning him for trying to reassure his people. “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is “no reason to be alarmed!””Mr. Trump wrote.

The president’s post suggested that Mr. Khan was too blasé about the attack. But in a statement he posted on Facebook several hours earlier, the mayor condemned the “sickening attack” committed by “twisted and cowardly terrorists.”

“I condemn these terrorists in the strongest possible terms,” he said in the video. “They are barbaric cowards, and there is absolutely no justification for their evil and unforgivable actions.”

Mr. Khan went on to add: “I’d urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant today and over the days ahead. We are all shocked and angry today but this is our city — we will never let these cowards win and we will never be cowed by terrorism.”

On Saturday night and Sunday morning, in the hours after the attack, Mr. Trump sought to build support for his proposed travel ban on visitors from select Muslim-majority countries, which has been blocked by the courts, and argued that gun control was pointless because terrorists in this case used other weapons.

“Do you notice we are not having a gun debate right now?” he wrote on Sunday morning. “That’s because they used knives and a truck!”

On Saturday night, he wrote: “We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!”

Mr. Trump called Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain on Saturday night to offer his condolences. A statement from the White House said that the president had “praised the heroic response of police and other first responders and offered the full support of the United States government in investigating and bringing those responsible for these heinous acts to justice.”

It was not the first time a member of the Trump family criticized Mr. Khan, the first Muslim mayor of any major Western capital. In March, after a terrorist attack in London, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, posted a link to an article in Britain’s Independent newspaper from the previous September quoting Mr. Khan about terrorism.

“You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan,” the younger Mr. Trump wrote at the time.

Mr. Trump’s post left the impression that Mr. Khan was minimizing the importance of terrorist attacks. But in fact, he was saying that terrorism was a reality that a big city needed to be prepared to prevent and respond to vigorously.

“Part and parcel of living in a great global city is you’ve got to be prepared for these things, you’ve got to be vigilant, you’ve got to support the police doing an incredibly hard job,” Mr. Khan said.

“That means being vigilant, having a police force that is in touch with communities, it means the security services being ready, but it also means exchanging ideas and best practice,” Mr. Khan was quoted saying.

Asked later during a television interview about the president’s son, Mr. Khan dismissed the post. “I’m not going to respond to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr.,” he said on CNN. “I’ve been doing far more important things over the last 24 hours.”