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Tragic news was confirmed by the U.S. Navy on Saturday night, as seven missing American sailors were declared dead following a destroyer’s collision with a merchant vessel off the coast of Japan. A search had been on for the missing sailors for days, and although it’s not clear whether all of their bodies were recovered, the Navy’s announcement of their deaths is a punctuation mark on a grim, seemingly random accident.
One which the president of the United States has yet to comment on.
President Donald Trump last referenced the search for the missing sailors in a 7am ET tweet on Saturday morning, sending his “thoughts and prayers” to their families and thanking the Japanese for their assistance. But since the sailors were reported to have died about 12 hours later, there have been no further words, whether memorials or condolences, from the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
This could change as time goes by, but he’s already drawn sharp criticism for failing to comment on the tragedy with appropriate speed. Especially since he evidently had the time to do so―he’s already tweeted multiple times on Sunday morning, focusing instead on bragging about his approval rating and calling the widely reported obstruction of justice investigation he’s facing a “witch hunt.”
The MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well despite the distraction of the Witch Hunt. Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm,..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2017
...massive regulation cuts, 36 new legislative bills signed, great new S.C.Justice, and Infrastructure, Healthcare and Tax Cuts in works!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2017
The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That's higher than O's #'s!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2017
This conspicuous oversight on Trump’s part, whether a display of his priorities or a simple bout of forgetfulness, was noticed by the denizens of social media.
It's sad that Trump would take Fathers Day to tweet about his "approval rating" instead of the seven US Sailors who died.— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) June 18, 2017
Donald Trump's official reaction to news that our lost sailors' bodies have been recovered. https://t.co/9JNGUqVwJ3— Eric Schmeltzer (@JustSchmeltzer) June 18, 2017
This morning it was announced the 7 sailors bodies were found. We lost 7 heros. Trump tweets not his condolences but about his poll numbers— Stop Trump 🍷 (@StopTrump2020) June 18, 2017
Trump busy tweeting about how much more popular he is than Obama, still hasn't tweeted a statement about the deaths of the sailors.— Veronica McDonald🗣 (@Purify_toast17) June 18, 2017
I bet Trump will hand out maps showing he is polling better in more counties than the 7 dead US sailors he's ignoring.— Resistance Justice (@justiceputnam) June 18, 2017
The President has woken up to news that 7 US sailors have died. He has chosen to tweet about witch hunts and poll numbers.— Bianna Golodryga (@biannagolodryga) June 18, 2017
It remains to be seen if and when Trump will acknowledge the deaths of the sailors―it’d frankly be startling for him not to. He also made no mention of Father’s Day in his trio of early morning tweets—which, while still not honoring the dead, would have nonetheless been a more positive message.
So far, however, he’s declined to devote any time to either. It just goes to show that when a president has a voracious social media habit and a notoriously shaky sense of what is and is not appropriate behavior, it’s not only what they say that’s bound to make news. It’s also what they don’t say.
Chris Tognotti is a frequent contributor for the Daily Dot. He’s a news and current events writer based out of Berkeley, California, and a co-host of the podcast Now We Know. While he specializes in domestic politics and opinion writing, he’s also savvy on sports, video games, and film.