On March 22, an attack near the House of Parliament in London rocked the city and resulted in deaths of 5 people while injuring over 50.
Lasting approximately 82 seconds, the attack started when a car ran into a crowd of people on Westminster Bridge and then was followed by a fatal stabbing outside the House of Commons.
The attacker has been identified as Khalid Masood, a British-born Muslim man who, according to Prime Minister Theresa May, had previously been investigated for violent extremism but was not currently a central concern to law enforcement.
The victims in this disaster include police officer PC Keith Palmer, administrator Ayesha Frade, retired window cleaner Leslie Rhodes, and Kurt Cochran- a tourist from the United States visiting London for his 25th wedding anniversary. Masood was one of the 5 deaths during this attack.
In response to the heinous attack, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer vowed the full support of the United States government to aid in the investigation, as well as condolences to the victims on behalf of President Trump.
Through Twitter, Trump also confirmed that he had spoken to May and praised her as “strong and doing very well.”
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added, “We condemn these horrific acts of violence, and whether they were carried out by troubled individuals or by terrorists, the victims know no difference.”
Controversy ensued as Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s eldest son, addressed the attack through Twitter.
His tweets appeared to be a jab at London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Trump Jr. referred to a misunderstood September interview of Mayor Khan regarding terror attacks and cities. The interview was conducted by the Evening Standard and had been referred to in an article published by independent.co.uk.
The headline of the article contained the misleading phrase: “Sadiq Khan: London mayor says terror attacks ‘part and parcel’ of living in a major city.”
You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan https://t.co/uSm2pwRTjO
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) March 22, 2017
Trump Jr. tweeted this article as well as his comment: “You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan”, suggesting that the London mayor viewed these attacks as commonplace in major cities.
In regards to the misinterpretation, the interview took place after a September 2016 bombing in New York City and Mayor Khan felt it necessary to stress that major cities need to be prepared in response to the growing prevalence of terror attacks.
Prior to a meeting with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Khan told the Standard, “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”.
Evidently, Trump Jr.’s interpretation was based on misinterpretation and a section taken out of context. Politicians and journalists alike have criticized him for being insensitive and unhelpful.
The British police made eleven arrests in the 48 hours following the attack and raided several addresses in London and Birmingham that may have a connection to the attack.
Of the eleven arrested, nine have been released. On March 25, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu explained that detectives believed Masood worked alone and that there was not any information that would suggest further attacks were planned.
Commissioner Basu further commented, “there is a possibility we will never understand why he did this.”