Breaking News Emails
As the terror attack in London unfolded Saturday night, U.S. President Donald Trump on Twitter advocated for his court-blocked "travel ban," calling it "an extra level of safety."
In a separate tweet minutes later, Trump expressed his solidarity with London and the United Kingdom and pledged that America would do anything asked to help.
London police said a vehicle struck pedestrians on the London Bridge just after 10 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET), before assailants left the vehicle and stabbed a number of people near the bridge and at nearby Borough Market. Police had not publicly declared the incidents as terrorism when Trump sent either tweet.
Seven victims were killed in the attacks, and police shot and killed three suspects, authorities said. All of the attackers are believed dead but the incidents are still under investigation, police said.
"We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!" Trump said on Twitter before tweeting his offer of support to the U.K.
The president's tweet about the blocked executive order came after he retweeted a report about the incident on the London Bridge that raised fears of a terror attack.
Hours later, early on Sunday morning, Trump tweeted: "We must stop being politically correct and get down to the business of security for our people. If we don't get smart it will only get worse."
The suspected attackers killed by police in London have not been identified by authorities, and it is unknown whether they were from the U.K. or somewhere else.
Courts have blocked implementation Trump’s so-called "travel ban" executive order, which would temporarily restrict the entry to the U.S. of those from six predominantly Muslim nations.
The government on Thursday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up its appeal and to allow it to enforce the executive order now, while the justices consider whether to hear the appeal.
Trump has said that the executive order is necessary to protect Americans from terrorism. Critics have called it a "Muslim ban," which Trump has denied. Administration officials in the past have also said that it is not a ban.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing a group of refugee aid organizations and Muslim residents whose overseas relatives are seeking visas, responded to Trump’s tweet about the executive order by pointing out that the president used the word "ban."
"Glad we both agree that a ban is a ban," the ACLU said on Twitter.
Cecillia Wang, the group’s executive director, accused Trump of exploiting a tragedy to promote what she called a discriminatory and illegal policy.
Trump, who often invoked Second Amendment rights on the campaign trail, later tweeted an observation on the fact that the London attack did not involve firearms.
The State Department in a statement Saturday night said the “The United States condemns the cowardly attacks targeting innocent civilians in London this evening” and offered any assistance the U.K. may request.
"Our hearts are with the families and loved ones of the victims. We wish a full and quick recovery to those injured in the attacks. All Americans stand in solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom," the statement said.