Heading into a crucial week for his presidency, Donald Trump seized on the deadly London terror attacks to settle scores and promote his own agenda, turning to a tactic that helped get him elected but has shown no benefit so far toward helping him govern.
Trump’s Twitter messages over the weekend criticizing the London mayor’s reaction to Saturday night’s attacks, calling on the courts to restore his travel ban against predominantly Muslim nations, and linking the incident to the U.S. debate over gun control came days before former FBI director James Comey is set to testify about his investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
The president’s statements drew harsh criticism from U.K. leaders, adding to fissures opened by Trump’s recent trip to Europe and withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. If the tweets were an attempt to cause a distraction ahead of Comey’s appearance, which could be a turning point for the Trump administration, they served only to draw attention from a White House-choreographed roll-out of the president’s own infrastructure plan this week.
Some in the Trump administration are worried that his presidency will forever carry an asterisk, even if no one in his campaign is ever found to have colluded with Russians to meddle in the 2016 election, one official said. The Russian government’s interference in the election, and its connections to Trump figures including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, have cast a shadow on his White House.