Trump’s reaction to the recent terror attack in New York is deeply hypocritical

A government official who represents Vanderbilt should speak up

On Halloween, Sayfullo Saipov drove a rental truck down a popular Manhattan bike path, killing eight and injuring many others. The attacker claimed to have terrorized New York in the name of ISIS. Unlike the shooting in Las Vegas, this attack can be attributed to a brown-skinned Muslim. Therefore, our president must hold the two tragedies in different lights.

In the wake of the most deadly shooting in American history, the Trump administration said that it was not the time to have a discussion about gun laws. It was a time to mourn the dead and the injured.

However, now is apparently not the time to mourn the dead. In a flurry of Tweets, Trump called for a shutdown of the immigration program that brought Saipov to America. In addition, he called the attacker an ‘animal’ that should be locked up in Guantanamo.

Tennessee Senator Bob Corker should call Trump out on this hypocrisy

Where was this anger when Stephen Paddock killed seven times as many people as Saipov? It was shrouded because the attacker was white. It was withheld because Trump disagrees with gun control and agrees with crackdowns on immigration.

Democrats like Chuck Schumer have already denounced Trump’s divisive reaction to the New York City attack. But a response from within the president’s party may have a more lasting impact. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker should call Trump out on this hypocrisy, as he has done in the past. As a former ally to the president, Corker’s words may rein Trump in and help New Yorkers like myself grieve.


  1. Trump deserves whatever criticism comes his way, especially on the timing of his responses to these two shootings. But on the substance of the attacks, there is a crucial difference.

    From all the available evidence Stephen Paddock was a sociopath who just wanted to kill as many people as possible for no reason other than whatever sick ideas swirled around his head.

    Saipov, on the other hand, had political motivations, and there are many like him who would do the same thing. Perhaps thousands. It’s hard to know when people can enter the country with practically no knowledge of their bona fides, of their politics, of their beliefs. The point Trump is making, whether you agree or not, is that we need to do a better job of keeping such people out.

  2. “Terrorism” as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.” Using these two heinous examples to construct a narrow definition of what some people “count” as terrorism (involving certain explicit political motivations) only feeds the divisive narrative that Trump is playing on here. Both men used violence that created fear in those who survived the attacks and in those who observed it secondhand. But if you don’t think Paddock “counts” as a terrorist, and, sure, I can understand that- we don’t have much helpful information about his motivations- pick any other white terrorist who has massacred innocent people in the past decade or two. There are plenty who fit the bill, and we can talk about them instead… But that’s not really the point. Let’s focus on what’s important here, and on what Schulman is emphasizing- that we need to make our country safer from people slaughtering each other with various kinds of weapons. Trump’s politicized responses to these attacks are unacceptable- we need to handle these issues as concerned human beings. The recent attacks we have survived as a country are heartbreaking, terrifying (as many of the perpetrators intend), and tragic. Using them to further a xenophobic political agenda is not okay.