Trump's 1st tweet on the Seattle train crash played politics

Hours after a train derailed i...

Posted: Dec 19, 2017 9:36 AM
Updated: Dec 19, 2017 9:36 AM

Hours after a train derailed in Washington state, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to sound off on it.

"The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly," tweeted Trump. "Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!"

That is a somewhat remarkable tweet from a president given the fact that emergency crews were still sorting through the rubble, several people had been killed in the accident and 77 people had been taken to a variety of local hospitals.

Trump followed that first tweet with a second, more traditionally presidential one 11 minutes later. "My thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved in the train accident in DuPont, Washington," Trump tweeted. "Thank you to all of our wonderful First Responders who are on the scene. We are currently monitoring here at the White House."

What do those two tweets tell us? That Trump's first instinct is always to look for an angle that benefits him or, even more ideally, proves he is right about something controversial he has said in the past.

This is hardly the first time this has occurred.

On the same day that 49 people were killed in a shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Trump tweeted this: "Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!"

A day after a terrorist ran down and murdered eight people last month in New York City, Trump tweeted: "The terrorist came into our country through what is called the 'Diversity Visa Lottery Program,' a Chuck Schumer beauty. I want merit based."

None of the above is to say that other men who have held Trump's job haven't had politically calculating thoughts in the immediate aftermath of tragedies. Of course they have. They are politicians, after all. It's what they do.

But what none before Trump did was jump into the politics right away. They held off a day or even a week until the full details of the tragedy were known and people had a chance to grieve. They sent that second Trump tweet first -- and, in most cases, didn't send the first one at all.

Nor is Trump wrong, broadly speaking, about the need to spend more on infrastructure in America -- particularly on many of our long-failing bridges, roads and tunnels. President after president has insisted how important infrastructure spending is to the country's future but has struggled to make it actually happen in any major way.

The problem here is that Trump is putting the cart way before the horse. Even while people continue to wonder whether their family members are safe, Trump is tweeting about how this just goes to show we need to spend more money on infrastructure.

It's not the wrong message. But it's definitely the wrong time for that message.

His past history suggests Trump is willing to play politics almost immediately after tragic events.

Maybe that is the new normal given the pace of news cycles and the relentless focus on partisan side-taking. But either way it's definitely new.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 468498

Reported Deaths: 9100
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison31907468
Hinds30552569
DeSoto29532342
Jackson22868335
Rankin21016355
Lee14393214
Madison13961263
Jones13053215
Forrest12879231
Lauderdale11244292
Lowndes10148171
Lamar9972122
Pearl River8569208
Lafayette8008136
Hancock7110107
Oktibbeha6764117
Washington6756146
Neshoba6350200
Monroe6304156
Warren6267159
Panola6036122
Pontotoc599292
Bolivar5960143
Marshall5917115
Union558885
Pike5424133
Lincoln5192127
Alcorn509388
George454766
Scott447392
Leflore4377138
Tippah431780
Itawamba429192
Prentiss429074
Copiah423883
Simpson4238108
Wayne419663
Tate418999
Adams4174109
Yazoo411486
Sunflower4057104
Covington404891
Marion399699
Leake389784
Coahoma385996
Newton360273
Grenada3489100
Stone342657
Tishomingo320987
Attala318285
Jasper308261
Winston298191
Clay282672
Chickasaw277464
Clarke271784
Holmes257685
Calhoun256939
Smith241546
Yalobusha215447
Tallahatchie213849
Walthall203457
Lawrence202431
Greene202045
Perry195053
Amite191251
Webster191141
Noxubee173437
Montgomery168652
Jefferson Davis164041
Carroll158936
Tunica146533
Benton137531
Kemper136538
Claiborne124134
Choctaw123824
Humphreys122036
Franklin114127
Quitman100925
Wilkinson98335
Jefferson85832
Sharkey61620
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 757893

Reported Deaths: 12784
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1082301712
Mobile694251158
Madison47738562
Baldwin35347420
Shelby34758281
Tuscaloosa32576495
Montgomery32249645
Lee21576200
Calhoun19621363
Morgan19061307
Etowah18363413
Marshall17028252
Houston15881337
St. Clair14724270
Limestone13908178
Elmore13812239
Cullman13756228
Lauderdale12909263
Talladega12124200
DeKalb11705220
Walker10047303
Autauga9371119
Blount9272146
Jackson8970132
Coffee8550150
Colbert8229160
Dale8162142
Escambia632298
Tallapoosa6255165
Covington6214153
Chilton6152128
Russell586753
Franklin558292
Chambers5155127
Dallas4569173
Marion4490114
Clarke447070
Pike439188
Geneva415999
Lawrence4002101
Winston399982
Bibb388975
Barbour334667
Marengo317778
Monroe306844
Butler305878
Pickens296166
Henry288550
Randolph288255
Hale282981
Cherokee275649
Fayette268569
Washington241844
Crenshaw226962
Clay219260
Macon211154
Cleburne205746
Lamar184638
Conecuh173337
Lowndes167856
Coosa160031
Wilcox153033
Bullock145642
Perry132430
Sumter122635
Greene117941
Choctaw71925
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