The One Striking Difference in Donald Trump's Responses to Terrorism and Mass Shootings


During the fifth Republican presidential primary debate, frontrunner and real-estate billionaire Donald Trump said he supports further government restrictions on the internet to stop the Islamic State group's dissemination of online propaganda, reiterating his prior call to "close up" the web.

"I don't want them using our internet to take our young impressionable youth and watching the media talking about how they're masterminds, these are masterminds!" Trump said. "They shouldn't be using the word 'mastermind.' These are thugs and terrible people in ISIS, not masterminds."


"We have to change it from every standpoint," he continued, explaining he would bring in Silicon Valley experts to formulate his internet restrictions. "We should be using our brilliant people, our most brilliant minds to figure out a way that ISIS cannot use the internet."

That's the internet, though.

When it comes to Second Amendment rights instead of First Amendment rights, Trump has struck a much different line.

"Guns, no guns — it doesn't matter," Trump told NBC's Meet the Press in October, following a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, in which a gunman killed nine people.

He added, "They happen to be intelligent. And, you know, they can be sick as hell and they're geniuses in a certain way. They are going to be able to break the system ... You have people that are mentally ill, and they're going to come through the cracks."

Mic/NBC News

"And they're going to do things that people will not even believe are possible," Trump concluded, instead explaining the real root of the problem was "sick people ... They're mentally imbalanced, and they probably see it happening here more."

Trump even argued, "You can have the best security. You have the best everything, but people are able to get in and do this — just terrible damage."

So, to recap, a Trump White House would judge terrorism waged in the name of an extremist Islamic ideology a deadly enough threat to justify a massive expansion of internet censorship. But the hundreds of mass shootings that ravage the country every year? Not that much you can do about it, and especially not anything that involves new regulations on gun ownership.

Trump has previously suggested other rights need to be given up in response to the threat of Islamic terrorism, advocating the complete and total shutdown of all Muslim entry to the country, briefly endorsing a database of all Muslims in the U.S. and saying the U.S. military should deliberately bomb civilians whose family members belong to ISIS.