In the aftermath of yet another senseless mass shooting that prematurely ended the lives of five innocent victims, people were in desperate need of a leader who could rise above politics and rally a nation. To the surprise and dismay of his critics, that leader delivered today.
Taking to Twitter, his favorite medium, he offered comforting words that both captured the evil specific to this incident without dignifying or legitimizing the perpetrator, and galvanized the country without trivializing or politicizing the victims’ suffering. And he did it all in one tweet without attacking any of his political enemies, real or perceived.
We know what you’re thinking: President Trump is utterly incapable of even approaching that kind of wordcraft with ten tweets, let alone one. He’s even incapable (or unwilling) of hiring someone to compose that kind of prose.
Spoiler alert: it wasn’t him. The national leader that has soothed a nation’s burning hearts after the senseless violence at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland is non-other than Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada.
Journalists tell the stories of our communities, protect democracy, & often put their lives on the line just to do their jobs. Today’s attack in Annapolis is devastating. Our hearts go out to all the victims & their families.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 29, 2018
“Journalists tell the stories of our communities, protect democracy, & often put their lives on the line just to do their jobs,” he tweeted late Thursday. “Today’s attack in Annapolis is devastating. Our hearts go out to all the victims & their families.”
Contrast that with statement made by President Trump, the leader of the country in which the attack actually took place, and it’s impossible to deny the gulf in both class and sincerity between two heads of state.
Prior to departing Wisconsin, I was briefed on the shooting at Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2018
The empty, recycled, almost cliché “thoughts and prayers” offering is sadly typical from this president after mass shootings. Of the 62 that have occurred during his presidency, he’s only tweeted after a fraction of them, and more often than not those tweets offered little more than thoughts and prayers.
This tweet comes across especially callous because President Trump has waged a non-stop war on the press, calling them “the enemy of the American people” and branding any coverage he doesn’t like “fake news.”
Prime Minister Trudeau’s tweet should serve as a blunt reminder to him – and to us – of what real leaders sound like at moments like this. Sadly, this reminder will almost certainly go unheeded.