Shortly after the murder of 12 people at a city office in Virginia on Friday, a White House spokesperson issued a brief statement on the violence along with a request that flags around the country be flown at half-staff through Tuesday. President Trump offered his condolences on Twitter.
By Monday, the president had moved on, insulting the mayor of London (“stone cold loser”) in advance of a state visit to England, where he would, among other things, attend an observance of the D-Day landings.
We are represented abroad by a president who regularly engages in schoolyard taunts of the sort that would earn a third grader a trip to the principal’s office. Insults and mass shootings are quite a message to send to the world. We continue to kill one another, and cynical politicians continue to oppose sensible firearms regulations for fear of losing votes.
Trump flew to London with his adult children and their spouses — somewhat bizarrely — tagging along. For the Trumps, London has appeared to be something of a lark. Sarah Kendzior, a journalist who has written extensively about authoritarian regimes, describes the Trump family and its associates as a “transnational crime syndicate masquerading as a government.” She may be right, but in weeks like these, they seem too bumbling in their grifting and nonsense for that assessment to be entirely true. On the other hand, nah, she is probably right.