“Incredible.” “Amazing.” ‘A miracle.” These were the terms President Donald Trump used to describe the events in Las Vegas Sunday as a gunman with a cache of weapons opened fire on a crowd of 22,000, killing at least 59 people and injuring over 500.
Trump spoke briefly with reporters before traveling to Puerto Rico Tuesday and offered a strange analysis of the events.
“What happened in Las Vegas, is in many ways a miracle,” Trump said of the deadliest mass shooting in American history. “The police department has done such an incredible job, and we’ll be talking about gun laws as time goes by, but I do have to say — how quickly the police department was able to get in was really, very much of a miracle. They’ve done an amazing job.”
President Trump, referring to first responders: "What happened in Las Vegas, is in many ways a miracle" https://t.co/2XlfM6NKdg
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 3, 2017
According to Newsweek, Las Vegas police were at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino “minutes” after Stephen Paddock opened fire from his hotel room window but they did not enter Paddock’s room “for more than an hour.”
According to the report, officers had locked down the 32nd floor of the hotel within 20 minutes after the shooting began, but did not breach the door until nearly an hour later.
Putting aside the details of the events, Trump’s language when describing Americans dying has been curious. The president has been more intent on painting a rosy picture than actual facts or details, and has lashed out in anger when his cheerful assessments have been questioned.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Trump said, “the loss of life, it’s always tragic. But it’s been incredible.”
As the days went on, Trump repeatedly praised himself. “We’re doing a very good job,” Trump said at least six times at a press conference last week. “Everybody has said, it’s amazing the job we’ve done in Puerto Rico.”
“We have had tremendous reviews from government officials. Everybody has said it’s amazing the job we are doing there.”
Meanwhile, San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz appealed to anyone who would listen that the aid on the ground was inadequate and pleaded for help repeatedly. Trump attacked her on Twitter as ‘nasty” and accused her of “poor leadership.”
Speaking at a press conference following Hurricane Harvey, Trump did not mention those killed and displaced by the storm once. Instead, he heaped praise on FEMA Director William Brock because he “really has become very famous on television in the last couple of days.”
Trump then thanked Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, telling him, “We won’t say congratulations. We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to congratulate. We’ll congratulate each other when it’s all finished.”
Despite Trump’s bizarre use of superlatives, or perhaps because of it, the media has substantially lowered the bar for a president who often appears to be unable to read his own teleprompter.
CNN praised Trump’s short scripted remarks after the shooting Monday as “presidential.”
CNN host John King and White House correspondent Jeff Zeleny both used the term, citing Trump’s “low-key” remarks that “focused on unity.”
The Washington Post, too, praised Trump merely for showing up and blurting anything stupid out.
“Trump somberly followed the practiced script of past presidents in times of crisis,” the Post’s Michael Scherer and Philip Rucker wrote. “Trump identified no clear villain. He issued no call to action. A president typically quick to make black-and-white declarations spoke instead in shades of gray.”