A new photo of President Donald Trump arriving in western Pennsylvania for an event commemorating the September 11 attacks is going viral for all the wrong reasons.
In the photo, as First Lady Melania Trump trudges somberly behind him, the president almost looks to be cheering.
photo from Doug Mills (NYT) of the President arriving for a 9/11 Memorial Service near Shanksville, PA a short time… https://t.co/Gd2tgubW4p— j.d. durkin (@j.d. durkin) 1536673259.0
As other photos made clear, Trump was approaching a gathering of his supporters at the time of his double fistbump.
WATCH: President Trump greets supporters upon arrival in Johnstown, Penn., while en route to Shanksville to honor t… https://t.co/HS5J70moBU— NBC News (@NBC News) 1536676222.0
But still, many found it shocking.
What??? https://t.co/iTJeUPGzi9— Jim Roberts (@Jim Roberts) 1536673550.0
Can you imagine having so little sense of decorum, sensitivity, self-awareness, that your first instinct upon arriv… https://t.co/JssUEapnea— Elizabeth West (@Elizabeth West) 1536672389.0
oh for the love of https://t.co/lNNkfO9JFA— shauna (@shauna) 1536673408.0
It led some to stop and process just how abnormal this period in the United States is.
@realDonaldTrump Imagine this as your leader https://t.co/c9s68g5QiQ— sam (@sam) 1536677150.0
@jiveDurkey The President of the United States of America "Excited" for 9/11 WHAT A TIME https://t.co/1SJ84NkRsj— Marijuana Pepsi, M.D. ❁ (@Marijuana Pepsi, M.D. ❁) 1536673958.0
Around the same time, Trump's tweet about the tragedy also struck many as less than sensitive.
17 years since September 11th!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1536670690.0
Rather than relaying any empathy or reverence, it seemed that the president was bragging about his ability to do basic arithmetic.
@realDonaldTrump A lot of presidents would use this day to honor the dead, rather than prove they have the ability to count.— James Felton (@James Felton) 1536672070.0
Some emphasized the responses of other leaders to contrast his hollow words.
@realDonaldTrump An example below of real leadership. Its not even his country.....but i guess, its not yours eithe… https://t.co/GnmXJbiv90— Trae (@Trae) 1536676991.0
@realDonaldTrump This is how it's done. #911Anniversary https://t.co/gxJ5hRCnmW— Unarmed Teacher (@Unarmed Teacher) 1536676619.0
@realDonaldTrump While you were trying to grift the 9-11 fund..... https://t.co/qlAwaZmhnp— 👠Snarky Kitty👠 (@👠Snarky Kitty👠) 1536677225.0
There are things that should come easy to United States presidents, like denouncing Nazis and standing up to Vladimir Putin, that the president still manages to bungle. Displaying reverence for the tragedy brought by the September 11th attacks is one of these things. It's been that way since moments after the towers fell.
On the day of the attacks in 2001, the president called in to a radio show and bragged that his building at 40 Wall Street was now the tallest building in lower Manhattan.
@realDonaldTrump Here's Trump bragging about having the "tallest" building in downtown Manhattan during the 9/11 at… https://t.co/52U7Mab9Cm— Braxton (@Braxton) 1536670724.0
40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan, and it was actually, before the World Trade Center, was the tallest — and then, when they built the World Trade Center, it became known as the second-tallest and now it’s the tallest.”
In 2013, he used the moment to get a dig on his enemies.
“@realDonaldTrump: I would like to extend my best wishes to all, even the haters and losers, on this special date, September 11th.”— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1378944768.0
Throughout the 2016 campaign, Trump used the September 11 attacks to stoke fear and Islamophobia within his base. He falsely claimed to have seen thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the attacks immediately after. At another campaign event, he defended restrictions on Muslims entering the country by insinuating it wouldn't have happened with a travel ban.
Those people that knocked down the World Trade Center most likely under the Trump policy wouldn’t have been here to knock down the World Trade Center, just so you understand.”
Fifteen of the 19 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, which is not included in the president's infamous travel ban.
Trump is set to make a speech today commemorating those who lost their lives. The nation waits to see if he'll be able to show a reverence befitting the magnitude of the tragedy--or at least stick to the script.