Former President Donald Trump very briefly spoke at a political rally about the racist shooting in Buffalo that claimed the lives of ten people – then immediately moved on in a wild non-sequence to Afghanistan, where he falsely claimed that there had been no loss of life.
Few details were likely verified at the time on Saturday when Trump commented on Buffalo’s violence at the rally in Austin, Texas. But he was clearly aware that “many people” had been killed and expressed no sadness or condolences.
“I think they had a tragic event in Buffalo…a tragic event in Buffalo with many people killed,” he told the crowd. He immediately added: “In 18 months in Afghanistan, we have not lost anyone”, which is not true.
It was strange to compare a deadly domestic hate crime to a war zone. Trump also lied about deaths in Afghanistan. According to Pentagon statistics, there has not been an 18-month period under the Trump administration during which there has been no loss of American life. In Trump’s last year in office, 22 US service members were killed in Afghanistan.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) called Trump’s Afghanistan-Buffalo comparison “ridiculous” and his dismissal of U.S. military deaths as “disrespectful.”
Trump may have been uncomfortable discussing the shooting, given his own history tied to the racist ‘great replacement theory’ that apparently inspired the alleged shooter, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, according to his writings. in line. The theory claims that white Americans are at risk of being replaced by people of color through immigration, interracial marriage and possibly violence.
Trump described the white supremacists who embraced the theory and marched in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 as “very fine people.” They chanted “The Jews will not replace us” and “You will not replace us” as they marched.
One of them, self-proclaimed white nationalist James Alex Fields, killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer as he deliberately drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters that day.
Tucker Carlson, host of Trump’s favorite channel Fox News, was named a little over a week ago by MSNBC as the “No. 1 champion” of the viciously racist theory.