So, it happened again. As tragedy struck, before the shooter’s motive was known, Americans were already attacking one another, assuming the worst. Naturally, Trump was attacked as “full Hitler” — because it was Thursday.
On Thursday, a middle-aged white man with a grudge targeted the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. He killed five people and injured two others. Before his motives became known, both liberals and conservatives assumed a political motive. Many liberals went so far as to directly blame President Donald Trump for the shooting.
(I will not name the shooter, because the desire for notoriety drives mass shooters. You can read about him here, although it will be enough to say his motives were personal, not political.)
Most attacked President Trump’s tweet from February of last year decrying “the FAKE NEWS media” as “not my enemy” but “the enemy of the American People!” This tweet directly named five mainstream media outlets, many of which received multiple “Fake News Awards” at the beginning of this year.
The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 17, 2017
Anti-Trump hysteria has driven some to compare this attack to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s infamous death sentence. When Stalin called someone an “enemy of the people,” his goons would go forth and kill that person, or send him or her to Siberia. For Trump, it is always just rhetoric.
Trump has occasionally egged on his supporters to violence in rallies, and that is unacceptable. It is utterly absurd to blame the president for the Annapolis shooting, however.
Before listing the worst liberal attacks — and yes, I am getting there, don’t worry — I have to mention alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ rightly infamous text wishing death upon journalists. “I can’t wait for the vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight,” Yiannopoulos wrote.
Whatever you think of Yiannopoulos, this text is disgusting and has no place in civil discourse. It is unclear just how broadly Yiannopoulos intended his words to go — it was a text message, so perhaps he did not intend anyone but the direct recipient to see it. Even so, this was despicable. Similarly absurd was Sean Hannity’s decision to blame Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) — who deserves condemnation for urging harassment on Trump staffers — for the Annapolis shooting.
But without further ado, here are the ten worst attacks on Trump for Annapolis.
1. “Full Hitler.”
This account does not have a name, but it does have 26,000 followers. “Take Ivanka to Work” tweeted, “Annapolis is what happens when the Donald Trump goes full Hitler and demonizes the free press. It was only a matter of time. This blood is on his hands.”
The account went on to demand Trump’s immediate impeachment. Lovely.
2. “Natural extension.”
“Seems to me that shooting up a newsroom is a natural extension of proclaiming that our worst enemies are those reporting news we don’t like that we decide to propagandize as ‘fake,'” writer and public speaker Scott Santens tweeted. “The violence today lies at Trump’s feet. The blood in Annapolis is on his hate-feeding hands.”
Seems to me that shooting up a newsroom is a natural extension of proclaiming that our worst enemies are those reporting news we don't like that we decide to propagandize as "fake." The violence today lies at Trump's feet. The blood in Annapolis is on his hate-feeding hands. https://t.co/Gv7dOz1KCs
— Scott Santens🧢 (@scottsantens) June 28, 2018
3. Amy Siskind alerts Twitter.
#Resistance activist Amy Siskind went directly to the social media police to get President Trump’s Twitter account deleted. Notifying Twitter, Twitter Safety, and Jack Dorsey (Twitter cofounder and CEO), she declared, “tweets sent from your platform by [Donald Trump] led to 5 targeted deaths today. Remove his account!”
.@Twitter @TwitterSafety @jack – tweets sent from your platform by @realDonaldTrump led to 5 targeted deaths today. Remove his account! https://t.co/WNyW3jYzy9
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) June 29, 2018
To the president, she said, “you are NOT keeping Americans safe, your words are encouraging violence just like this!”
.@realDonaldTrump – you are NOT keeping Americans safe, your words are encouraging violence just like this! https://t.co/Z4xB85A0DE
— Amy Siskind 🏳️🌈 (@Amy_Siskind) June 29, 2018
Siskind went on to tweet a message from the alleged shooter, citing a defamation lawsuit Trump filed against Univision and suggesting that that the shooter’s lawsuit against the Capital Gazette was therefore justified.
No, Amy Siskind, this does not prove the shooter was inspired by Trump’s “fake news” rhetoric. Instead, it reiterates that the shooter was motivated by personal animus against the paper, and enlisted Trump into his cause, not the other way around.
4. “It doesn’t matter who the shooter was.”
Who cares about the truth? Let’s blame Trump anyway.
An account going by “The Resistance” — so original! — declared, “Donald J. Trump has been inciting violence against the press since the day he announced his candidacy. At this point, it doesn’t matter who the shooter was, or what motivated him. The fact remains, the POTUS got what he wanted, and Americans are now dead.”
Donald J. Trump has been inciting violence against the press since the day he announced his candidacy. At this point, it doesn't matter who the shooter was, or what motivated him. The fact remains, the POTUS got what he wanted, and Americans are now dead. #Annapolis
— The Resistance (@TheGayHumanist) June 28, 2018
5. “Clearly influenced by … Trump.”
Author and verified Twitter user Tara Dublin insisted that “whoever decided to shoot reporters where they were working was clearly influenced by the false narrative from the right that all news [Donald Trump] doesn’t like is ‘Fake News’ & [Yiannopoulos]’ encouragement to shoot journalists who write about the truth.”
Whoever decided to shoot reporters where they were working was clearly influenced by the false narrative from the right that all news @realDonaldTrump doesn’t like is “Fake News” & #Milo’s encouragement to shoot journalists who write about the truth #Annapolis #CapitalGazette
— Tara Dublin ✡️🌊✍🏻 (@taradublinrocks) June 28, 2018
Clearly. Because, you know, it’s not like a personal motive could be revealed later, right?
6. When you give “a bigoted president” a cookie…
In a now-deleted tweet, Women’s Republic founder Saw Sailaja Seshadri declared, “This is what happens when a bigoted president tells his supporters that every journalist that disagrees with him is just spreading ‘fake news.'”
Forebodingly, she added, “Kids can’t go to school and adults can’t go to work without getting killed.” Perhaps she realized just how tenuous this connection to school shootings was…
7. “Anti-press rhetoric can’t be separated from this violence.”
Jason Johnson, a journalism professor at Morgan State University and MSNBC contributor, also blamed Trump. “I’m getting my oil changed in Maryland watching local coverage of the [Annapolis] shooting. I teach journalism students,” he declared. “The anti-press rhetoric of the right & the president can’t be separated from this violence.”
I'm getting my oil changed in Maryland watching local coverage of the #Annapolis shooting. I teach journalism students. The anti-press rhetoric of the right & the president can't be separated from this violence
— Jason Johnson (@DrJasonJohnson) June 28, 2018
One Twitter user had the perfect response: “You should teach your journalism students to wait for the facts before reporting on their own biased political assumptions based on no facts at all…..like you just did.” Ouch!
You should teach your journalism students to wait for the facts before reporting on their own biased political assumptions based on no facts at all…..like you just did. 🙄
— penelope210 (@penelopesire) June 28, 2018
8. Yiannopoulos, Trump, same thing, right?
#Resistance leader Dr. Eugene Gu alleged that President Trump did the “same” thing as Milo Yiannopoulos in calling for journalists to be shot. No, seriously.
“Milo Yiannopoulos called for journalists to be gunned down as a trolling tactic for attention,” Gu wrote, rather accurately. “Same with Trump when he said reporters are the enemy of the people.” WHAT?! No, Trump never called for reporters to be shot. Again, Trump is not Stalin.
Milo Yiannopoulos called for journalists to be gunned down as a trolling tactic for attention. Same with Trump when he said reporters are the enemy of the people. When we vilify or dehumanize any group, we place them at great risk of harm. Doing so for ratings is unconscionable.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) June 29, 2018
9. “Inciting unstable people.”
Matt Rogers, chief of staff to a Virginia state senator, blamed Trump’s rhetoric for the Annapolis shooting. “The President’s irresponsible rhetoric, calling the free press the ‘enemy of the American People’ is inciting unstable people to do horrific things,” Rogers tweeted with a direct reference to the Annapolis shooting.
The President's irresponsible rhetoric, calling the free press the "enemy of the American People" is inciting unstable people to do horrific things. #Annapolis https://t.co/dYS8qnChx1
— Matt Rogers 🎙 (@Politidope) June 28, 2018
10. “Lock him up.”
Bill Palmer, #Resistance leader of the Palmer Report, called for President Donald Trump to go to prison.
“When the President of the United States repeatedly calls for violence against the media, and then someone shoots up a newspaper office in Annapolis, then yeah – whatever the details end up being – he’s morally and criminally responsible for it,” Palmer declared. “Lock him up.”
He added another snarky tweet, attacking the call for civility. “Donald Trump has spent all this time calling for violence against the media, and now someone has shot up a newspaper office in Annapolis. Yet our side is still being told that we’re the ones not being ‘civil’ enough,” Palmer tweeted.
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