The biggest mass shooting in modern American history — and it's not at all clear our president has the capacity to handle it.
On Monday morning, Americans woke up to shocking and tragic news of a mass shooting in Las Vegas that left at least 50 dead and another 400 injured.
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department identified 64-year-old Stephen Craig Paddock, “a white male from Mesquite, Nevada,” as the shooter, who is now dead.
According to the police department, “Paddock opened fire on a crowd of more than 22,000 concert-goers from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel on Sunday evening.” An estimated 406 people were transported to the local hospital.
The department reports than an off-duty police officer is among the dead.
At a press conference Monday morning, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Police Department announced that the shooter’s motive is not yet known.
It is the first deadly shooting of Donald Trump’s presidency, and on Monday morning, Trump sent a rather awkward tweet of “warmest condolences” in response:
Trump has a terrible record of responding to mass shootings. After the deadly shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in June 2016, one of Trump’s first comments on the tragedy was shockingly inappropriate.
“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism,” he tweeted.
As president, Trump has been eager to exploit tragic terrorist attacks to promote his Muslim travel ban. In June, Trump waged a Twitter war against Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, accusing him of being insufficiently alarmist about a terrorist attack.
In September, after another attack in London, Trump immediately jumped on Twitter to spread his own fake news and conspiracy theories about the incident, leading to widespread condemnation from Great Britain.
“True or not – and I’m sure he doesn’t know – this is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner,” wrote Nick Timothy, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Theresa May.
According to the White House, Trump plans to speak later Monday about the tragic and deadly shooting in Las Vegas. It is unknown what he will say. Given Trump’s shameful record of utterly inappropriate reactions to shootings, to hurricanes, and to other tragedies, it is not clear that the president of the United States has the capacity or ability to provide the kind of thoughtful and compassionate leadership at such a dark moment for the country.