Trump condemns 'Islamophobic double-murder' in Portland after public pressure
“The violent attacks in Portland on Friday are unacceptable,” Trump tweeted on the official presidential account. “The victims were standing up to hate and intolerance. Our prayers are w/ them.”
People had taken to social media to urge US President Donald Trump to comment on a double murder in Portland that left two men dead on Friday.
Taliesin Namkai-Meche, aged-23, and Ricky John Best, aged-53, were stabbed to death on a train in the north-western city, after intervening against a man who launched into an Islamophobic tirade against two women passengers.
The two men have been hailed as heroes by Muslims and non-Muslims across the world, as well as Portland’s mayor and the FBI.
"[They] were attacked because they did the right thing," said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who flew home from a business trip in London after learning of the attack.
Nearly 1,000 people gathered at a vigil on Saturday around a mound of bouquets and photographs, praising the men as heroes and saying they hoped others would stand up against hate.
However, Trump has remained silent, despite tweeting 10 times on Sunday on topics ranging from healthcare to fake news.
Pleas are now mounting for the president to comment on the attack, which was carried out by a 35-year-old known local white supremacist identified as Jeremy Joseph Christian.
Veteran American journalist Dan Rather wrote an emotional post on Facebook, urging Trump to acknowledge the "brave Americans who died at the hands of someone who, when all the facts are collected, we may have every right to call a terrorist".
Rather added that although the story "may not neatly fit into a narrative you pushed on the campaign trail and that has followed you into the White House", the men were "not killed by an undocumented immigrant or a 'radical Islamic terrorist'".
"This 'extremism' may be of a different type than gets most of your attention, or even the attention in the press. But that doesn't make it any less serious, or deadly," he wrote.
Rather concluded his post by noting that Portland might not be on the president’s radar because it is a liberal city, but "it is still an American city. And you are its President".
Other social media users outraged by the president's silence about the murder soon joined the campaign.
Meanwhile, one of the teenagers who Best and Namkai-Meche stepped in to protect from the attack has paid tribute to the men.
Destinee Mangum, who was travelling with a Muslim friend when the attack began, said the men had saved her life.
"They lost their lives because of me and my friend, and the way we looked," she told KPTV in Oregon."I just want to say thank you to them and their family, and that I appreciate them. Without them, we probably would be dead right now."