Within hours of a terrorist attack in London that killed four victims and injured dozens on March 22, the oldest son of US president Donald Trump took aim at the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan. Referencing the headline of a September 2016 article in the Independent about the mayor, he tweeted:
The tweet quickly drew ire on Twitter, not only for the poor judgment and insensitivity so soon after a tragedy, but also because Trump Jr., whether intentionally or by accident, misrepresented the article and words of Khan, the city’s first Muslim mayor.
Taken out of context, the article’s headline, “Sadiq Khan: London mayor says terror attacks ‘part and parcel’ of living in a major city,” might suggest that Khan was excusing a terror attack.
But a full read of the article, published after a September 2016 explosion at a construction site in New York, makes clear that Khan was advocating for more city preparedness and for Londoners to help combat terror threats:
Sadiq Khan has said he believes the threat of terror attacks are “part and parcel of living in a big city” and encouraged Londoners to be vigilant to combat dangers.
The Mayor of London revealed he had a “sleepless night” after the recent bombing in New York, and said major cities around the world “have got to be prepared for these sorts of things” to happen when people least expect them.
The article went on to quote Khan as saying:
“That means being vigilant, having a police force that is in touch with communities, it means the security services being ready, but it also means exchanging ideas and best practice”, Mr Khan told the Evening Standard shortly before a meeting with New York mayor Bill de Blasio.
Critics on Twitter surmised that Trump Jr. had only read the article’s headline and jumped to conclusions:
More than a million people signed a petition in January to block a state visit by US president Trump to Britain later this year. A gaffe like this can’t help (paywall).