From Pittsburgh to Fort Hood: Trump Versus Obama

Contrasting presidential responses to mass murder.

“This wicked act of mass murder is pure evil,” Trump said on Saturday. “This was an anti-Semitic act. You wouldn’t think this would be possible in this day and age.”

That was President Trump, responding to the murder of 11 Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

“Our minds cannot comprehend the cruel hate and twisted malice that could cause a person to unleash such terrible violence,” the president said, “during a baby naming ceremony at a sacred house of worship on the holy day of Sabbath.” The president said “anti-Semitism and the widespread persecution of Jews represents one of the ugliest and darkest features in human history. Anti-Semitism must be condemned and confronted everywhere and anywhere it appears.”

Suspect Robert Bowers, 48, yelled “all Jews must die” as he fired, killing 11 and injuring six, including four police officers. FBI special agent Bob Jones said it was the “most horrific crime scene” he’s witnessed in 22 years. Swift action by police prevented many more casualties and police took Bowers into custody.

President Trump told reporters “people who do this should get the death penalty. I think they should stiffen up laws and I think they should very much bring the death penalty to anybody who does a thing like this to innocent people.” Agent Jones said that prior to the synagogue attack, Bowers was unknown to law enforcement.

That was not exactly the case with U.S. Army psychiatrist Nidal Hasan. Major Hasan had been emailing terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki about the prospect of killing infidel Americans, and the “Soldier of Allah,” as he called himself, did everything but take out an ad on the Super Bowl to announce his jihadist intentions. The U.S. security establishment was well aware of the communications but did nothing to stop Hasan.

On November 5, 2009, at Ford Hood, Texas, U.S. soldiers were getting their final medical checkups before deploying to Afghanistan. Major Nidal Malik Hasan yelled “Allahu akbar” and began gunning down the soldiers. His victims, all unarmed, included Francheska Velez, 21, a private from Chicago who pleaded for the life of her unborn child. The Muslim major killed two other women that day along with 10 men, more than twice as many victims as the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, with 32 wounded.

POTUS 44, formerly known as Barry Soetoro, did not use words such as “mass murder,” “wicked,” or “evil” for that attack. It took place at an Army base and as commander in chief he was surely briefed on the shooter and his battle cry. Yet, following the attack the president declined to comment on Muslim’s motive, saying,  “We don’t know all the answers yet and I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts.”

The president had the facts, yet Nidal Hasan’s Fort Hood massacre would be designated “workplace violence,” not even “gun violence.” And this was not simply a matter of softening the impact. Since the attack was in a “ workplace” that prevented the victims from getting combat medals and in some cases even the medical treatment they needed.

The government took care of Hasan’s paralyzing injuries and continued to pay his salary while he awaited trial. The following April, the White House declined the request of Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, severely wounded by Hasan, to meet with the president and tell him how the survivors had been mistreated.

In August, 2013, a panel of 13 military officers handed down a death sentence for Hasan. POTUS 44 never connected the attack with Islam or jihad, and did not use the words “terror” or “terrorist” until December 2015, in a comparison with the San Bernardino attack.

In the wake of the October 27 Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, imagine if President Trump’s administration knew Robert Bowers was planning an attack and did nothing to stop him. Imagine if the president refused to speculate on the shooter’s motive, and declined to denounce anti-Semitism and hatred.

Instead of a “wicked act of mass murder” and “pure evil,” imagine if the president had not mentioned “murder” at all and passed off the attack as “worship-place violence.” Imagine if the president contrived to keep the survivors from getting the medical treatment they needed.

These are hardly the only differences between the presidents. In 2005, when POTUS 44 was still a senator, he smiled for a posed photo with the Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan, perhaps the worst anti-Semite in America. POTUS 45 never associated with Farrakhan or other anti-Semites.

POTUS 44 signed a disastrous deal with Iran’s Islamic regime and shipped the oppressive mullahs planeloads of cash. POTUS 45 pulled the United States out of the Iran deal and does his best, against furious opposition, to restore American strength and prosperity. POTUS 44 does his best to displace Jimmy Carter as the worst ex-president.

To all but the willfully blind, the vast differences between 44 and 45 should be clear, especially their responses to mass murder.

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