White Men Who Shoot Up People Are Not Terrorists, and 4 Other Takeaways From Trump’s Response to Las Vegas

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images

A subdued and somber President Donald Trump got on television hours after more than 50 people were killed during an attack in Las Vegas on Sunday, and seemingly stuck to the script and took no questions, managing not to make this tragic event even more tragic (as happened with his comments after the racial melee in Charlottesville, Va.).

Or, in a nutshell: Teleprompter Trump, incredibly, managed not to fuck up his response to the Las Vegas shooting.


Here are the top five things the president said, and didn’t say:

1. Trump began by bigging up his favorite people in the world, the police. After his introductory statement, in which he stated that he and his fellow Americans were “joined together in sadness, shock and grief,” Trump went right into his deep and abiding love of po-9.

“I want to thank the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and all of the first responders for their courageous efforts and helping to save the lives of so many,” he said. Trump also profusely thanked the FBI, Department of Homeland security and local authorities, saying, “It shows what true professionalism is all about.”

Now, I think the police in this case definitely deserve kudos for doing such a great job, but it doesn’t escape me that the LVMPD is the very same department that NFL player Michael Bennett is about to sue for excessive force and an obvious lack of professionalism.


2. Trump never used the words “domestic terrorism” or even “terrorism,” for that matter. He did drop “evil” a few times in describing Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old white man who is allegedly behind the attack, but one can only imagine what the response would have been if Paddock had been a “Gonzales” or “Muhammad.”


Regardless of whether these men of color were 10th-generation Americans or not, I would bet my left foot that there would’ve been some direct or indirect reference to protecting this nation and weak borders, anger frothing from his mouth and, you bet your ass, the word “terrorism.”

3. Trump is going to Vegas posthaste. “I will be going to Las Vegas to meet with law enforcement, first responders and the families of the victims” on Wednesday, he said—a marked departure from his response to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, which he is waiting over a week to visit. Trump is slated to go to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on Tuesday, so I guess he’s not staying long, since he will be in Vegas on Wednesday.


4. Who dis man quoting the Bible? Trump looked about as comfortable as a whoremonger in an eight-pewed Baptist church while saying things like: “We ask God to help see you through this very dark period. Scripture teaches us that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words because we know God lives in the hearts of those who grieve.”

This from the man who called Second Corinthians “two Corinthians” on the campaign trail (he still got the evengelicals anyway). The man whom many view as the devil incarnate even dropped the word “love” and “God” a few times.


5. Trump noted that he has “directed that our great flag be flown at half-staff.” So ... he just had to get that “great” in there, huh? This, an obvious dig at those who may kneel during the national anthem against the very brutality that Trump implicitly and explicitly condones through his sycophantic love and blind support of law enforcement.

The verdict? I would bet my bottom dollar that if this thing had gone more than five minutes, it would have gone left. What I did glean was that being a white man—even a murderous one—has its privileges in Trump’s GREAT America.

Ms. Bronner Helm is the Senior Editorial Director at Colorlines. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.

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Didn’t see ‘son of a bitch’ in there, either. Interesting, that.