In the wake of tragedies like the one that happened in Orlando, Florida, this past Sunday, Americans usually put politics aside and come together to show strength and unity. Trump did exactly the opposite this week, using the massacre as an opportunity to boast about his powers of foresight, blame President Barack Obama and demonize American Muslims. His actions offer a hint of how he might respond to a similar situation as president.
Amid reports that a gunman had killed 49 people at a gay nightclub early Sunday, Trump could only respond by bragging that he'd predicted such a thing would happen, and arguing that the attack justified his proposed ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
Trump followed the tweet with a speech on Monday in which he called for suspending immigration "from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or allies." Trump also falsely claimed that Omar Mateen, the shooter in the Orlando attack, was born in Afghanistan. In fact, Mateen was born in New York, not far from Trump himself.
"Look, we're led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind. And the something else in mind -- you know, people can't believe it," Trump said during an interview on "Fox & Friends" Monday. "People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can't even mention the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.' There's something going on. It's inconceivable."
Obama forcefully responded to Trump's comments, arguing that simply using the phrase "radical Islamic terror" would not help anything.
"What exactly would using this label accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this?" he said. "The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away."
The comments from Trump, who is now the GOP's standard-bearer, were so awful that Republicans on Capitol Hill -- many of whom had already endorsed Trump -- suddenly didn't want to talk about him anymore. Trump's remarks, which also included a renewed call to spy on U.S. mosques, have been politically toxic, with voters generally not reacting well to his demagoguery.
Trump also tried to exploit the fact that the shooting occurred at a gay nightclub, arguing that he would do more to defend LGBT Americans than would Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee. Trump didn't mention that he once felt uncomfortable when he saw two men kiss on television.