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Donald Trump’s response to Brussels attack inappropriate

Maddie's Matters

By Maddie LaPlante-Dube, Columnist

On Tuesday, March 22nd, yet another bombing rocked Europe. Explosions in Maelbeek metro station and the airport in Brussels, Belgium killed a reported 35 people and injured upwards of 270 more.

The American government is attempting to track down just how many American citizens were in the country at the time, confirming at least a dozen American individuals were injured in the bombings. Four American deaths have been reported.

The morning of the attacks, Donald Trump discussed the bombings on Fox News' "Fox and Friends."

"I will tell you, I've been talking about this a long time, and look at Brussels," he said. "Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime. And now it's a disaster city. It's a total disaster, and we have to be very careful in the United States. We have to be very careful and very vigilant as to who we allow in this country."

He went on to say that Brussels is now an "armed camp."

"If you went to Brussels 20 years ago, it was like a magical city," he said. "Now you look at it, it's an armed camp. You want to lead your life, you don't want to be living in an armed camp for your whole life. And there is a certain group of people that is making living a normal life impossible."

So, not only is he using the death of upwards of 31 people as an "I told you so" for his campaign, he is also spreading false information about the still-running city of Brussels and country of Belgium. To say that the city has stopped dead is not true. To say that it is an armed camp is so far beyond the truth that I don't even have space here to elaborate on it. The airport is closed. Maelbeek metro station is closed. The metro runs on a limited schedule. Some schools are open, though many employees stayed home.

It is a city dealing with the shock of death and unprecedented violence. It is not an armed camp nor a campaign tool.

As Brussels-based Austrian diplomat Anton Zeilinger said to The New York Times, "A few bombs won't destroy the way we live, even if they want to."

All of Trump's comments were made before any information was confirmed and as Brussels was still trying to make sense of the mayhem. Now that we have more facts, let's examine them closely.

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The Belgian government recently released the names of the two suicide bombers. They were brothers, Ibrahim and Khalid el-Bakraoui, 30 and 27 respectively. Ibrahim and another partner set off the explosions in the airport, and Khalid carried out the attack in the metro.

Despite what Donald Trump assumed immediately, these men were Belgian citizens. And despite his assumption that this was an attack on the West and a result of immigration, the Belgian bombings followed a series of five other deadly attacks in Turkey, Nigeria, Yemen and the Ivory Coast.

These attacks can't be boiled down to something as simple - and an assumption as inherently racist - as immigration. We can't just build a wall on the Mexican border and waterboard whoever we want as if that (1) would give us credible information and (2) wouldn't be a breach on human rights and think it will change anything.

The terrible fact is this: ISIS is recruiting individuals from all over the world to serve its purpose. They are less affiliated with Islam and more in line with blind hate. Closing borders will not help defeat them. We live in a suddenly global world. It is not the one that Trump grew up in (money aside). It is a world in which the Internet can reshape the way we think and spread love or hate respectively. It is a world in which false information will cause paranoia and in which change can be mitigated if it is sought after effectively and fairly.

Since Trump was too busy insulting Brussels and spreading false information to send condolences, I will. As with Paris, our hearts go out to the victims and their families. May the third suspect in the bombings be caught soon.