Blaming Obama For Orlando

Hysteria seems to be gripping the GOP. So many say they don't like Trump's tone and politics of hate but that hasn't stopped them from replicating it. Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) said President Barack Obama was "directly responsible" for the Orlando terror attack because "he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaeda went to Syria, became ISIS." 

He lamely took a tiny step back saying he meant Obama's "policies" were "directly responsible" for the tragedy in Florida.

The Orlando shooter, according to what is known at this point, was a lone wolf who pledged his loyalty ISIS just before starting his rampage.  ISIS later claimed credit for the incident but the FBI has said it has found no evidence so far that it was directed by the Islamist terrorist organization.

Equally appalling was Donald Trump's own demand that President Obama "resign in disgrace" because he won't echo the Merchant of Hate's term "radical Islamic terrorism."  Trump even went so far as to suggest the President, whose religion and nationality Trump has challenged in the past, might sympathize with the terrorists.

While Obama, Hillary Clinton, the FBI and most others focused on the tragedy as an anti-LGBT hate crime, most Republican leaders ignored that in favor of some foreign conspiracy.

Trump, who has made Muslim bashing a central theme of his campaign, responded to the shooting with a self-congratulatory "I told you so," suggested his anti-immigration approach would have prevented the Orlando attack. "I called it and asked for the ban," he tweeted.  Donald, in case you haven't noticed, the killer was born in New York, just like you.

Once again, Trump was wildly out of step with the mainstream Jewish community. Religious, cultural and political leaders across the Jewish spectrum condemned the hate crime, speaking of the need for greater tolerance and fewer guns. 

Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin, in separate statements, condemned the incident, specifically noting what the PM called "the heinous attack last night on the LGBT community."

Trump sought to exploit the tragedy for his own political gain, and most leading Republicans seemed content to go along – perhaps out of guilt over their hostility toward the LGBT community – and try to shift the blame to foreign threats.

Michael Oren, the former Israeli ambassador to Washington and onetime academic who now specializes in right-wing sloganizing, said if the motive for the killing was hatred for the LGBT community, it would benefit Clinton, but he advised Trump to "emphasize the Muslim name, Omar Saddiqui Mateen," because it would  "benefit" his campaign if it is "clear that the motive is Islamist-jihadist."

Trump, a recent convert to NRA extremism, declared that the tragedy justifies his call for "toughness & vigilance" in fighting Islamic terrorism; he can be expected to oppose any effort to ban assault rifles or improve gun safety.

Republican leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan, Senators Mitch McConnell, John McCain and Marco Rubio and former Speakers Newt Gingrich and John Boehner, concede Trump is a racist, but they are saying – in effect – that Trump is our racist and we're going hard to work to get him elected.

In one more dive into the extremist muck, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick tweeted a Biblical passage, "reap what you sow," following the mass murders at a gay club, in effect blaming the victims. 

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.