The White House said Monday that President Donald Trump won’t say whether the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting amounts to an act of domestic terrorism because it’s “too premture.”
“We’re still in a fact-finding mission. This is an ongoing investigation,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters when asked if President Trump believes the massacre was an act of domestic terrorism.
“And it would be premature to weigh in on something like that before we have any more facts,” Sanders said.
President Donald Trump has a particularly inconsistent history with the term. After the killing of a counter-protester at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August by an alleged white supremacist, Trump said only that “you can call it whatever you want.”
However, he has repeatedly been quick to define attacks carried out by Muslims. Just last month, following an attack on the London Underground, Trump tweeted to condemn what he called the “loser terrorist” behind the explosions, before the suspect had been identified.
Similarly, he tweeted of the need to be “smart, vigilant and tough,” after a van drove into a crowd on London Bridge earlier this year before a motive had been established.
More directly, he showed no hesitation in labeling the shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, last year, terrorism —and even used it to push his proposed Muslim ban.
“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism, I don’t want congrats, I want toughness & vigilance. We must be smart!” he tweeted.
Trump called the Las Vegas shooting an “act of pure evil” but did not mention terrorism.
Sanders said that determination would be left to local and federal law enforcement.
— ABC News (@ABC) October 2, 2017
At least 58 people were killed and hundreds more were injured when a gunman opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas late Sunday.
The suspected gunman was identified as Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old Mesquite, Nev., resident who was found dead in his hotel room overlooking the concert site.
The FBI said the shooting had no connection with an international terrorist group.