Donald Trump never met a controversy he didn’t like, a racial issue he didn’t want to exploit, or an ignorantly tone deaf tweet he didn’t want to write. So it’s not shocking that this morning he tried to do all three in the same tweet. However, it backfired on him so badly that just minutes later, his staff was on his Twitter account, trying to clean up his mess and mitigate the damage.
Earlier this week, Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson was killed by a drunk driver. Trump expressed no interest in Jackson’s death, or offering condolences to the family, or addressing the deadly issue of drunk driving, until he found out that the drunk driver happened to be an undocumented immigrant. Trump tried to exploit this by tweeting “So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!”
Trump’s brazen and cold hearted attempt at spinning Jackson’s death to sell his racist anti-immigration policies didn’t go over particularly well. In fact his staff seemed to know immediately that the tweet was a bad idea, because just five minutes later they posted this to his account: “My prayers and best wishes are with the family of Edwin Jackson, a wonderful young man whose life was so senselessly taken.” How do we know that Trump didn’t write the second tweet? Anyone who has paid attention to him knows that he’s psychologically incapable of writing such a tweet or expressing those kinds of emotions.
However, things kept backfiring for Donald Trump. Edwin Jackson’s friend and roommate told CBS News that Jackson would not have wanted his death to be used in this manner by Trump (link). He added “I don’t think Edwin would have judged anyone on where they were from or anything else.” Trump still has yet to address drunk driving.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report