On Thursday, after months and months of President Donald Trump and his allies railing against the free press, with the descriptor the “enemy of the American people” getting applied at times, five people were killed after a gunman opened fire inside the newsroom of the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Maryland.
The shooter was Jarrod Ramos and has a past tense relationship with the newspaper, having repeatedly gone after the outlet in court for an article they wrote about a stalking case against him. Although his harsh — and now deadly — behavior towards the paper extends back beyond the rise of Donald Trump and his “fake news” slogan to national prominence, the shooting did not happen in a vacuum. Trump has now taken again this Friday to attempting to offer comments in honor of the shooting, with a video of those comments having gone up on his personal Twitter account early Friday afternoon Eastern U.S. time.
In the video, which is a clip of Fox News coverage of comments delivered at the White House, he begins by saying:
‘This attack shocked the conscience of our nation, and filled our hearts with grief. Journalists, like all Americans, should be free from the fear of being violently attacked while doing their job. To the families of the victims, there are no words to express our sorrow for your loss — [a] horrible, horrible event, a horrible thing happened — and [for] your suffering, we pledge our eternal support. The suffering is so great — I’ve seen some of the people — so great.’
It is deeply and darkly ironic for Trump to cling to the fact that journalists should be free from physical threats while having himself in the past called for violence against those opposed to him and cast most journalists as his and his supporters’ enemies. At one point during the campaign season, he went so far as to say he would cover the legal bills of anyone who took on a protester, and in the time since, attacking the free press has become a near clockwork-like occurrence for him.
As the Thursday attack in Maryland proves, there are those out there willing to take Trump’s sentiments to their extreme, real life ends. He can’t hide from that fact and the fact that he has been pouring fuel on this fire every time he retreats into his fantasy world bubble and claims there to be some broad journalistic conspiracy against him.
Even still, that fantasy world — where somehow his repeated insistence that the media peddles “fake news” doesn’t have consequence — is exactly where he has placed himself.
In that fantasy, he’s the savior here and going to take supposedly dramatic steps to counter gun violence in the United States, although he’s in reality majorly hesitated to do any such thing since taking office, clinging instead to commissions to address gun violence and tame legislation.
In the video he posted Friday, he continued:
‘My government will not rest until we’ve done everything in our power to reduce violent crime and to protect innocent life. We will not ever leave your side — so our warmest, best wishes and regrets — [it was a] horrific, horrible thing.’
Check it out below.
Before going any further today, I want to address the horrific shooting that took place yesterday at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. This attack shocked the conscience of our Nation, and filled our hearts with grief… pic.twitter.com/LALXGhk04b
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2018
Check out Twitter’s response below.
Featured Image via Screenshot from the Video