President Donald Trump tweeted regularly throughout the weekend, but it wasn’t until Monday that the official presidential Twitter account commented on the fatal stabbing in Portland, Oregon, which left two men dead after they confronted a man spewing hatred to two Muslim girls.
On Friday, Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche were stabbed to death while traveling on one of Portland’s MAX trains. They both stood up to confront a man verbally attacking two girls, one of whom was wearing a hijab.
Police say Jeremy Joseph Christian, 35, who has ties to white supremacist groups, targeted the girls for “religiously and racially motivated reasons.” When confronted by Best, Namkai-Meche and a third man, 21-year-old Micah David-Cole Fletcher, Christian violently attacked them with a knife. Fletcher survived the stabbing but remains in the hospital with serious injuries.
Late Monday morning, the president finally broke his silence with a tweet from the official presidential Twitter account, @POTUS, that his prayers were with the victims of the attack.
But Trump sent almost two dozen tweets over the weekend on his personal account after the fatal attack made national news Saturday. (While Trump himself tweets from his @realDonaldTrump account, the @POTUS account is also accessed by his staff.)
Not one of Trump’s personal Twitter messages mentioned Portland, the two deceased men being hailed as “heroes,” or a condemnation of the attacker’s actions that are being investigated by police as a hate crime.
Instead, Trump focused his personal public comments on deriding the news media, congratulating Republicans on a congressional win in Montana and his recent trip to the Middle East and Europe.
Trump’s tweets appear to address the seemingly never-ending Russia scandal troubling his administration. Over the weekend, The Washington Post reported that Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak told Moscow officials that Trump’s key adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner discussed possibly setting up a secret communication channel between the then-incoming president’s transition team and the Kremlin.
Social media users, most notably former “60 Minutes” host Dan Rather, noticed the omission of the tragedy in Portland from Trump’s tweets. The newsman posted an impassioned letter pleading with the president to acknowledge the attack.
“Perhaps Portland, Oregon is off your radar. It is, after all, a rather liberal place. It’s even a ‘sanctuary city,’” Rather wrote. “But it is still an American city. And you are its president.”
This article has been updated to note that Trump tweeted about the attack on Monday and to explain his multiple Twitter accounts. Kate Abbey-Lambertz contributed reporting.