Trump Twitter Response to London Attack Criticized by Prime Minister

(CN) – President Donald Trump was quick to take to twitter on Friday after 29 people were injured in London by a bomb planted on a crowded commuter train, but his unfiltered response reportedly angered British officials.

Immediately after learning of the rush-hour incident in Great Britain, Trump tweeted that ”the travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific,” but also complained that “stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”

He also lamented the attack by what he called “a loser terrorist” in a second tweet, adding, “These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!”

Later, speaking to reporters at the White House on Friday, President Donald Trump called the attack “a terrible thing.”

“It keeps going and going, and we have to be very smart and we have to be very, very tough — perhaps we’re not nearly tough enough,” he said.

The president’s reference to the bomber or bombers being “in the sights of Scotland Yard” angered British leaders because they appeared to reveal details about the incident that were not yet public.

“I never think it is helpful for anyone to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told reporters in London when asked about the president’s comments.

Later, National security adviser H.R. McMaster dismissed criticism of the president’s response to the attack.

“I think he means generally this kind of activity is what we’re trying to prevent,” McMaster told reporters during an early afternoon White House briefing.

He said Trump simply meant that British law enforcement is keeping an eye on terrorist groups seeking to carry out attacks on its soil.

“He didn’t mean anything beyond that,” McMaster added.

The bombing occurred at about 8:20 a.m. as the train was pulling out of the Parsons Green station in Southwest London.

The National Health Service in Britain said 18 people were taken to local hospitals and that another 11 had sought medical treatment on their own.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police, a top counterterrorism official, said at a news conference that the bomb was “an improvised explosive device,” and he urged anyone who had seen what happened, or had taken photos or videos of the incident, to come forward.

Police in London are treating the incident as a terrorist attack. They have identified a suspect, but have not released a name.

Prime Minister May said Friday that Britain’s official threat level from terrorism remains at “severe,” meaning an attack is highly likely, and has not been raised in the wake of the London subway bombing.

After chairing a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, May said the threat level was not being raised to “critical,” which would mean an attack is imminent. But she said that decision will be kept under review.

“Clearly, this was a device that was intended to cause significant harm,” she added.

The White House said Trump called May a short time later to convey “his sympathies and prayers for those injured in the terrorist attack” and “pledged to continue close collaboration with the United Kingdom to stop attacks worldwide targeting innocent civilians and to combat extremism.”

In the meantime, the authorities immediately beefed up security around the London Underground, and a massive manhunt was underway.

Among those condemning the attack was Miroslav Lajčák, president of the 72nd Session of the UN General Assembly.

“Train passengers shouldn’t be targets. The UN stands united against terrorism,” Lajčák said in an early morning tweet.

Friday’s incident was the fifth significant attack to occur in Britain this year. In March the country witnessed a vehicular and knife attack near Parliament, and then in May, a suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded 59 others at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. The most recent attack before Friday was a van and knife attack on London Bridge in June.

 

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