Last Sunday night, a French-Canadian man allegedly killed six people and injured five others during a shooting at a mosque in Quebec City.
President Donald Trump has not tweeted about or publicly mentioned that incident.
Early Friday morning, a man at the Louvre museum in Paris yelled “Allahu Akbar” — in Arabic, “God is greatest” — and attacked a group of soldiers, police said. One soldier was slightly injured.
Within hours, President Trump tweeted about the incident, calling the suspect a “radical Islamic terrorist” and imploring the US to “GET SMART.”
President Trump’s contrasting reactions to the two attacks have raised questions about how the identities of the suspects and victims informs the President’s response.
Daniel Dale, the Washington correspondent for The Toronto Star, was one of several reporters to compare the President’s rapid response to the Louvre attack with his silence on Quebec.
Though President Trump himself has been publicly mum on Quebec, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said in a daily briefing a day after the attack that the President had spoken by phone with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and offered his condolences. Spicer also said Trump shared Trudeau’s inclination to be “cautious to draw conclusions on the motives at this stage.”
Comparing the two attacks
At the Louvre, the suspected attacker rushed toward a group of soldiers and guards while wielding a machete, Paris police said. He was shot by a soldier and apprehended. He had no identity documents on him, police said.
By any measure, the shooting at the Quebec Islamic Cultural Center was more destructive and random. Witnesses said the alleged gunman fired indiscriminately into a crowd of worshipers at the mosque, which included men, women and children.
The suspect in the Quebec attack, Alexandre Bissonnette, is a 27-year-old French-Canadian who had been known for far-right views he posted online.
“I wrote him off as a xenophobe,” Vincent Boissoneault, a classmate, told The Globe and Mail. “I didn’t even think of him as totally racist, but he was enthralled by a borderline racist nationalist movement.”