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London terror attack: world sympathises, Trump criticises

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05 June 2017

US President Donald Trump again seemed to display a lack of sensitivity on Sunday, coming under fire for criticising London's Mayor in the aftermath of attacks in the city that left seven people dead and at least 48 others injured. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

In a tweet, Trump seized on comments by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who said Britons should not be alarmed to see more police in the streets after three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before stabbing others nearby.

''At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!''' Trump tweeted.

''We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don't get smart, it will only get worse,'' Trump said.

In response, a spokesperson for the London Mayor said Mr Khan ''is busy working with the police, emergency services and the government to coordinate the response to this horrific and cowardly terrorist attack.''

''He has more important things to do than respond to Donald Trump's ill-informed tweet that deliberately takes out of context his remarks urging Londoners not to be alarmed when they saw more police - including armed officers - on the streets,'' the spokesperson said.

Other world leaders were more circumspect and sympathetic. "My thoughts go out to the victims and their loved ones," French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter.

"Awful news," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Saturday evening, adding, "We're monitoring the situation."

But Trump rushed in where angels feared to tread. Before London police or anyone else had announced that the attack was linked to terrorism, the US President retweeted an unsourced blurb from Drudge.com: "Fears of new terror attack after van 'mows down 20 people' on London Bridge."

London authorities at that point had confirmed only a few details. Shortly after the Drudge tweet, British police again warned against spreading unconfirmed information: "Keep following this Twitter feed. We will release facts when we can - our info must be accurate."

Fifteen minutes later, Trump issued his second tweet since the attack - promoting his administration's legally embattled travel ban, which hinders people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States: "We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!"

Former Democratic vice president Al Gore, speaking on CNN, said he thought Trump's tweet misrepresented what the mayor had said.

''I don't think that a major terrorist attack like this is the time to be divisive and to criticise a mayor who's trying to organise his city's response to this attack,'' Gore said.

Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat and vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, told CNN that it ''troubles'' him to see the kinds of tweets Trump has put out in the aftermath of the London attacks.

Trump did not mention the Mayor when speaking after a gala event at Washington's Ford's Theatre later on Sunday, where he condemned the attacks as an ''evil slaughter.''

He said the United States would do everything in its power to assist the UK in bringing those responsible to justice.

''This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end,'' Trump said, adding he would ''do what is necessary'' to prevent the threat from reaching the United States.

Trump also spoke with British Prime Minister Theresa May to offer condolences and offered Washington's ''full support'', the White House said in a statement.

Earlier in the day, Trump cited the London attacks to push his 6 March executive order that would temporarily ban entry into the US of people from six predominantly Muslim countries (See: Trump tweaks travel ban to pass courts; 6 nations still on list).

The ban has been blocked in the courts and Trump's legal team has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate it.

Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. Critics say his reasoning is flawed and assail the ban as discriminatory.

Republican Senator Susan Collins said on CBS that she thought Trump's travel ban was ''not the right way to go'' because it was too broad.





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