If a presidential candidate really wanted to keep American families safe, which threat would he focus on more: a), the one that has resulted in over 150,000 Americans being killed over the last 15 years on U.S. soil; or b), the one that has killed fewer than 50 Americans?
I’m going to bet that most would say the threat that has taken over 150,000 American lives including thousands of children. That threat, of course, is gun violence. In 2015 alone, 13,286 Americans were killed by firearms and over 25,000 were wounded.
Donald Trump, however, doesn’t want to talk gun violence. But he loves to talk about the danger posed by Muslim terrorism, which literally has resulted in zero American deaths in 2016 on U.S. soil. (The San Bernardino terror attack was in 2015.) In contrast, gun violence in 2016 has already claimed over 5,000 lives, including 219 children under eleven years old.
In fact since January, 23 Americans have been killed by toddlers with a gun, yet none by Muslim extremists. Can we expect Trump to call for a “total and complete shutdown” on toddlers until “our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on” with them?!
Trump apparently cares less about keeping your family safe from the threat that’s killing over 30 Americans every single day—including today. Rather Trump wants to scare you about Muslims and then save you from this threat. The irony is Trump’s proposed Muslims ban is not the mark of a strong leader, but rather the frightened and irrational response of a very scared man.
A real leader would address the threat taking American lives on a daily basis, even if that proved politically challenging. But just last week we saw Trump do the opposite.
After the EgyptAir flight crashed early Thursday, Trump didn’t wait for the authorities to release the facts. Instead he chose to politicize the tragedy for political gain based on a hunch. So at 6:30 a.m. Thursday, even before French or Egyptian officials had made public comments about the possible cause of the plane crash, Trump tweeted his own conclusion: “Looks like yet another terrorist attack. Airplane departed from Paris. When will we get tough, smart and vigilant? Great hate and sickness!”
Later Thursday, Trump doubled down, saying if you disagreed that the plane crash was a terror attack then “you’re 100 percent wrong.” (Apparently Trump knows more than Egyptian President Abdel el-Sisi, who stated Sunday morning, “There is no particular theory we can affirm right now,” adding, “this could take a long time but no one can hide these things.”)
And then Trump tripled down, issuing a statement reaffirming his proposal to ban over a billion Muslims because of the sins of a few: “Look at the carnage all over the world including the World Trade Center, San Bernardino, Paris, the USS Cole, Brussels and an unlimited number of other places.”
Now, in the same week when Trump was doing his best to scare Americans about Muslim terrorism, he spoke at ground zero for guns: the NRA convention. A leader concerned about saving American lives would’ve used this opportunity to at least raise proposals on how to reduce gun violence, such as calling for universal background checks to close what is known as the “gun show loophole.” In fact polls show that even NRA members strongly support this measure.
Or maybe he’d talk about the need for a federal law to monitor or even close down “bad apple” gun dealers that have been linked to a big chunk of guns used in crimes. Astoundingly, 5 percent of the gun dealers are linked to 90 percent of the guns used in crime, as noted by the Brady campaign.
No, of course Trump didn’t mention those things. Instead he served up a rambling speech that included the lie that Hillary Clinton wants to “ban every gun,” called for the elimination of gun free zones and joked that his sons own so many guns that “I get a little concerned.”
Stunningly, while Trump has no problem taking to Twitter to comment on almost any issue, for some reason he doesn’t want to tweet about the epidemic of gun violence. For example, there’s no mention in Trump’s Twitter feed of the 17 Americans killed during the week of April 14 in various mass shootings. That’s more killed than in the San Bernardino terror attack that left 14 dead, an attack that Trump has invoked countless times during this campaign.
Why hasn’t Trump taken a break from calling people “losers” to tweet condolences to the family of Yvonne Nelson, a 49-year-old Chicago city employee killed Friday by an errant bullet after she exited a Starbucks. How about a tweet concerning five-year-old Haley Moore, who was killed Saturday when a gun accidentally went off in her house? Or what about Amy Koegel, a 43-year-old Lexington, Kentucky woman killed over the weekend after being shot several times Friday by her boyfriend? (Over half of the women murdered with guns in the United States in 2011 were killed by intimate partners or family members.)
Are ISIS and Al Qaeda threats? Absolutely, and we must be vigilant in defending our nation from them. But if Trump truly cared about keeping your family safe, he would be raising the issue of gun violence at least as much as he talks Muslim terrorists.
The reality, however, is Trump only cares about what helps Trump and his campaign. So expect to hear Trump talk a lot more about Muslims and nothing about gun violence between now and November. Except maybe to regurgitate the NRA’s talking points after future mass shootings.