On Saturday afternoon, while the country watched in shock as news unfolded about a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that killed at least 20 people, President Donald Trump sent a pretty presidential statement on Twitter. “Terrible shootings in El Paso, Texas. Reports are very bad, many killed. Working with State and Local authorities, and Law Enforcement,” Trump tweeted at the time. “Spoke to Governor to pledge total support of Federal Government. God be with you all!”
All pretty standard fare. Except that a few minutes after Trump sent that tweet, it seemed his attention had turned elsewhere. Less than 15 minutes later, he wrote another message praising UFC star Colby Covington, a vocal supporter of the president. “Fight hard tonight Colby,” Trump tweeted. “You are a real Champ! #MAGA.”
The commander in chief then went on to retweet Fox Business Network contributor Charles Payne, who praised “employment stats for Black American in July.” He then retweeted a message from Darrell* Scott, a pastor who is a staunch supporter of the president, who praised Trump’s involvement in helping ASAP Rocky when he was detained in Sweden. Trump then retweeted another message from Scott, whom he called “a great guy—and tough!” He followed that up with a retweet from i24 News that features an interview with Scott, who obviously praised Trump.
It seems Trump then heard the way people were not too happy that the president was tweeting and retweeting rather than focusing on El Paso, so he sent out a link to a USA Today story about his response to the shooting. He then issued a longer statement. “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act,” Trump wrote. “There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.”
Correction, Aug. 4, 2019: This post initially misspelled Darrell Scott’s first name.