Her Opinion: Donald Trump's Response to Brussels Attacks is Dangerous

This morning, three bombs exploded across Brussels, Belgium in a coordinated terror attack that is being claimed by ISIS. While the world was mourning the loss of life, safety, and peace of mind, Donald Trump sent out the following tweet: 

Trump followed that tweet with the usual-- criticisms about President Obama, a shouty "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN", and blatant boasts about how "right" he has been about terrorism. He then used the opportunity to campaign for Arizona and Utah votes. 

A full seven hours after the attacks, Trump's seventh tweet of the day acknowledged the victims. 

In an interview with Fox and Friends, Trump stated, "Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime. And now it's a disaster city. It's a total disaster, and we have to be very careful in the United States, we have to be very careful and very vigilant as to who we allow in this country."

In other interviews today, Trump warned, "what we're doing is we're allowing thousands and thousands of these people into our country, and we're going to have nothing but problems, as sure as you're sitting there". He proposed, "clos[ing] up our borders until we figure out what's going on."  

I’d like to take this opportunity to comment on Mr. Trump's reaction to this tragedy. Almost exactly one year ago today, I was lucky enough to explore Belgium and to spend time in Brussels. Trump is right about one thing—it really is a beautiful city.  Somehow, Brussels is both historic and modern, majestic yet humble. It seems that magic lurks around every corner, and the people who live there are warm, welcoming, and completely unassuming. But I take great issue with the way that Trump keeps claiming that Brussels "was" beautiful, but is now a "total disaster." Brussels has not been ruined by this tragedy--there is no doubt in my mind that the beauty and innocence of the city will survive. 

However, I will admit--at this precise moment, the city isn't safe. One of the attackers is presumed to be at large, and a massive manhunt is now underway. But I'd like to remind Trump of one thing: as long terrorism exists, nowhere is safe. It's a scary thought, but it's true. Who can guess where the next target of hatred will be? This is not the first attack of its kind and by no means will it be the last. Terrorism disrupts and destroys lives all over the world. So should we lock our doors to everyone as he suggests, becoming more and more frightened of the world around us? Should each person stay confined to his or her country, city, neighborhood, house? Will that really keep us safe? Or will we be doing exactly what the terrorists intend for us to do?

A true leader encourages strength, solidarity, courage, and love in dark times. Today, Trump has been promoting only himself and fear to already frightened and vulnerable people.

"The important thing is not establishing if you are afraid or not, but it is to be able to live with your own fear without being influenced by it. Otherwise, it's not courage anymore, but recklessness." -Giovanni Falcone

Image sources: 1,2,3,4