The panic president

The goal of terrorists is to spread terror. With the president of the the United States, they apparently succeeded.

Writing at The Atlantic, David A. Graham gets it right.

As Khan’s full remarks make clear, the mayor was not soft-pedaling the attack, which he condemned in blunt terms. Rather, he was saying that the increased police presence offered no need for additional concern. It comes as no shock by now that Trump would misrepresent comments or take them badly out of context for his own political gain, but the tactic is no less distasteful for being habitual. In the broader context of his statement, Khan was making an argument about how populations should react to terrorism: With anger, with sadness, with rejection, but also with courage and a refusal to given in to fear.
Trump is the panic president, bearing a radically opposed message: Fear is not only acceptable, but necessary. Rarely does one see a leader, much less the leader of a liberal democracy, actively embracing, even calling for, panic. But this is Trump’s response, ridiculing Khan’s plea for calm among Londoners.
Khan poses a particular challenge to Trump’s panic-fueled approach on two levels. For one, his appeal to calm stand at odds with the president’s desire for greater hysteria. But for another, Khan himself represents a threat to that political message. If a Muslim like Khan can win the mayorship of a city like London, and if he can win acclaim as a strong leader who upholds liberal democracy, it undermines the president’s fear-mongering about absorption of Muslims into Western society.

Now that’s something for Trump to fear.

Update: The real problem, it seems, is that we pay too much attention to what Trump, y’know, says.

Even Kellyanne’s husband isn’t buying that.

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