When a truck drove recklessly through a crowded holiday bazaar in Berlin yesterday, American new outlets–once again–stuttered and stammered through the initial reporting. Many went so far as to assure viewers that the driver could have simply lost control and killed 12 innocent people, accidentally. President-elect Trump, though, was much more blunt.
When a truck drives through the middle of a Christian themed holiday event, Trump appears willing to say what everyone else openly fears. Trump called them “Islamist terrorists.” This is a marked departure from our current model, and one that is welcomed by many who recognize the inherent danger at the core of extremists’ religious beliefs.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the loved ones of the victims of today’s horrifying terror attack in Berlin,” Trump wrote. “Innocent civilians were murdered in the streets as they prepared to celebrate the Christmas holiday. ISIS and other Islamist terrorists continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship as part of their global jihad. These terrorists and their regional and worldwide networks must be eradicated from the face of the earth, a mission we will carry out with all freedom-loving partners.”
Fans of Trump’s direct rhetoric had much to celebrate in this tonal shift. By directly labeling what everyone identifies as the root of the problem, Trump runs the risk of alienating Muslims that feel any affront on Islam is an attack on them. Yet there’s no escaping the radical ideology driving the attacks, and Trump appears willing to address this reality.
As he is wont to do, he also tweeted about the attack shortly after, further bolstering his bellicose tone. “Today there were terror attacks in Turkey, Switzerland and Germany – and it is only getting worse. The civilized world must change thinking!” he wrote.
The attack in Berlin had one bright spot yesterday, as the police in Berlin announced that they’d apprehended the driver–alive. Yet today, news broke that the man they arrested yesterday was not associated with the attack and that the perpetrator is still on the loose.
The Iraqi Popular Mobilization Force claimed responsibility for the incident.