You know what? Something’s missing from all the talk about what happened on Oct. 31, the deadliest terrorist attack in New York since the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. I mean, we’re talking about the obvious stuff: terrorism, the Islamic State, immigration, visa programs. But in all this talk, no one demanded that President Trump go to his home town to show solidarity before he took off for Asia.
Houston gets hit by a hurricane in September? Trump shows up twice amid criticism that he wasn’t doing enough. Florida gets thrashed by a hurricane that same month? Trump shows up to avoid the lack-of-empathy knock against him in Texas. Puerto Rico gets decimated by a hurricane later that month? Trump shows up on the island “surrounded by water — big water, ocean water” two weeks after disaster struck to free-throw paper towels at hurricane victims. A man kills 58 people and wounds hundreds more at a country music festival in a torrent of rifle fire from the high floor of a Las Vegas hotel on Oct. 1 — the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history? Trump was there three days later.
Three days after Sayfullo Saipov allegedly used a rented pickup truck to kill eight people and wound 12 others on a bike path in the shadow of the new World Trade Center tower, all New Yorkers got from Trump were caustic comments and tweets attacking Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and some loose talk about sending Saipov to Guantanamo Bay or giving him the death penalty. Not even first lady Melania Trump, who was in New York at the time of the attack, did more than send a sympathetic tweet. Considering her home in her husband’s gilded glass tower on Fifth Avenue is just four miles away from the horrific scene, something as simple as laying flowers at or near the site would have been a welcome gesture.
But what of Trump himself? He’s a New Yorker, after all. A Queens-born builder who decamped to Manhattan and gold-stamped his name seemingly everywhere. A man whose improbable ascension to the presidency is the ultimate stick in the eye to the Big Apple establishment that shunned him. A president who was jeered by his fellow New Yorkers when he returned home in August for the first time since his inauguration. Knowing all that, maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that no one is clamoring for his return.
You could say that Trump dissed New York in its time of need by not showing it the same attention he gave other stricken communities. But you could also say his home town didn’t notice — or even care.
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