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: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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