The 2016 US presidential election in two tweets:
Woke up to hear the devastating news from FL. As we wait for more information, my thoughts are with those affected by this horrific act. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 12, 2016
Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don't want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 12, 2016
Clinton’s first reaction is to send thoughts and wait for facts. Trump’s is a stream of factoids, breathlessly repeated keywords (tough, smart & vigilant) and appeals to Islamophobia. His tirade reads more like ‘sending thoughts’ than Clinton’s studied response, and of course got him yet another wave of free media. It also sounds a lot more like how people talk.
The former Secretary of State followed up with an official statement, saying that:
we need to redouble our efforts to defend our country from threats at home and abroad. That means defeating international terror groups, working with allies and partners to go after them wherever they are, countering their attempts to recruit people here and everywhere, and hardening our defenses at home.
On the one hand, a callous absorption of tragedy for short-term political gain, which is exactly how Trump responded after Paris. On the other, a vaguely worded commitment to more global drone war, domestic surveillance, etc etc.
Trump’s diction is simple to the point of idiocy (“be smart!”), which explains why it’s so popular. Clinton sounds exactly like a politician. (Where else do people speak of “redoubling efforts” these days, besides DC?)
It seems likely that there will be another mass shooting in America before November, possibly even one attributed to ISIS. With more horror looming, each presidential candidate will need to talk about it before they get a chance to actually do anything about it.
Obama has given this speech about 15 times now. He must be incredibly weary. The next President has already begun dress rehearsal, and the words each candidate uses now will decide who wins. Clinton’s speech is presidential; Trump’s is a seismic shock aimed at fissures in American society, toward those who would make him king.
For now, in our own words and prayers, we’re all sending our thoughts to Orlando.