US president promoted his travel ban on Twitter Friday, following the blast that injured at least 18 and is being treated as terrorism
Donald Trump on Friday used the explosion on a London tube train, which he blamed on “loser terrorists”, to promote his travel ban and a “proactive and nasty” policy against Islamic State.
When the president tweeted, no suspect had been identified or any group claimed the blast as an attack. Trump’s intervention carried echoes of his tweets after the London Bridge attack in June, when he criticised London mayor Sadiq Khan’s call for calm.
Eighteen people were taken to the hospital after the explosion on Friday, which happened at the Parsons Green station in west London and was being treated as an isolated incident. Four people took themselves to hospitals. The London Ambulance Service said: “None are thought to be in a serious or life-threatening condition.”
In a statement, Khan confirmed that the explosion was being treated as terrorism and said: “I urge all Londoners to be calm and vigilant.”
At a morning press briefing, Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley said: “We now assess that this was a detonation of an improvised explosive device. As you will have seen there are reports of 18 injuries. I understand most of those to be flash burns.”
Rowley said the investigation was being led by the Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism command, supported by MI5. Police officers would be deployed across the capital’s transport network, he said.
Around the time Rowley spoke, the president tweeted: “Another attack in London by a loser terrorist. These are sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard. Must be proactive!
“Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better!”
In response Nick Timothy, a newspaper columnist who was formerly chief of staff to prime minister Theresa May, wrote on Twitter: “True or not – and I’m sure he doesn’t know – this is so unhelpful from leader of our ally and intelligence partner.”
Trump continued: “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific – but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”
Trump’s travel ban against refugees and others from six majority Muslim countries is in force but not in full effect, as court challenges on constitutional grounds continue. A first version, against seven countries, was withdrawn after similar challenges.
“We have made more progress in the last nine months against Isis than the Obama Administration has made in 8 years,” Trump added. “Must be proactive & nasty!”
In London, Stephen Cowan, leader of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham which covers Parsons Green, told the Guardian the explosion was “being treated as a terrorist incident as you would expect, but I would stress that people should remain calm and the situation is completely under control”.