US official: ‘A laugh went up’ after Trump called Manila shooting incident a ‘terrorist attack’

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President Donald Trump.
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Thomson Reuters

President Donald Trump called a shooting incident in the Philippines a “terrorist attack” on Wednesday, before officials made any such determination about the nexus of the incident.

“I would like to begin by addressing the terrorist attack in Manila,” Trump said at the start of his speech. “It is really very sad as to what’s going on throughout the world with terror. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected,” Trump said as he prepared to announce his plan to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement on Thursday.

However, a Philippines’ police chief said that there was no indication that the incident was related to terrorism, and instead, believed that the lone gunman was attempting to rob the gaming resort in the Philippine capital of Manila, Reuters reported. Authorities say that the gunman had set some tables on fire and that people in the room were not targeted.

“We cannot say this is an act of terror … he did not hurt anyone,” he said. “If you are a terrorist you will sow terror.”

One US official said that Trump was “freelancing” when he associated the incident with terrorism and said that “a laugh went up in the Situation Room” afterwards.

Meanwhile, US intelligence officials reportedly declined to label the incident a terrorist attack, saying that it was far too early to draw conclusions.