Update: Donald Trump has responded to the attack in Barcelona, Spain, with the following tweet, posted to his personal Twitter account.
The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!
Earlier: Donald Trump angered millions earlier this week with his statements regarding to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. He infuriated many when he didn't immediately condemn the white supremacists that took to Charlottesville, and later regarded them as "fine people." His comments deserve to be scrutinized, as he is being held to a presidential level, which is why Donald Trump's response to the Barcelona crash will undoubtedly be criticized and examined if not done in a respectable manner. (At the time of publication, Donald Trump has not spoken out about the crash, but the White House has said he has been briefed.)
On Thursday, a "number of deaths" and "many injuries" occurred after a van drove into a crowd in Barcelona. The Catalan police spokesman told CNN that the event was "likely" terrorism, and it was being treated as such. CNN reports multiple witness accounts that describe a very scary scene. Some explained that they heard gun shots, and others say the van was traveling at approximately 50 mph. ABC News reports that the suspected driver was seen running into a local restaurant by witnesses.
Days before the attack in Barcelona, Donald Trump found himself in a lot of hot water, and it naturally has people eager to see how he'll handle the most recent and tragic incident. The president's comments about the violence in Charlottesville last Saturday failed in such a catastrophic way, many took to social media to criticize him. Late night TV hosts have spent the past few days opening shows on the topic of Trump's failure as a leader, specifically noting that Trump didn't condemn groups like neo-Nazis and white supremacists swiftly and strongly. As Seth Meyers pointed out, "very fine people," the phrase that went viral after Donald Trump suggested that "very fine people" existed on both sides of the violence, don't just "accidentally join a Nazi rally."
With that in mind, Trump's statement to the public regarding the Barcelona attack will be incredibly important. He is coming off of a week where he let the public down — other than those who share his views that white supremacists and neo-Nazis can be "fine people," like the former leader of the KKK, David Duke — so he needs to urge the country to not hate people, to not turn to violence, and most importantly, to not turn to Islamaphobic statements after an attack occurs.
As noted by Vox, Trump is quick to tweet words of hate and condemnation when an attack occurs and the known suspect is Muslim; when it's not known, or even worse, when the victim is Muslim, he's silent. After Portland, where two men died for protecting Muslim women, Donald Trump waited to release a statement on the incident. It differed vastly from his reaction to London, where he actually tweeted we needed to stop being "politically correct."
While a lot is expected of Trump's response to the Barcelona crash, the expectations line up to what any president has been asked of in the past. It is now the time for Trump to relay unity and support for Spain and Barcelona without pointing a finger and spreading more hate.