UK PM May chides Trump after he claimed attack could have been prevented

After the American president accused security forces in the UK for having had the attacker "in their sights," May said that "it's never helpful for anybody to speculate."

September 15, 2017 17:41
3 minute read.
Theresa May Donald Trump

British Prime Minister Theresa May looks on as US President Donald Trump speaks during their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, January 27, 2017. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a curt statement on Friday afternoon urging people not to speculate on any investigation into the identity of the culprits behind Friday's terror attack on London's metro in a comment that seems to have been aimed directly at US President Donald Trump, who took to Twitter following the attack to suggest UK security forces should have been better prepared.

The American president wrote a series of tweets after the attack, which saw 22 people injured after a train caught on fire in the west of the British capital as a result of what security forces explained was the blast from a bomb that had been placed on the train in the Parsons Green station.

"Another attack in London by a loser terrorist," the president tweeted, going on to say that the unnamed attackers were "sick and demented people who were in the sights of Scotland Yard."

"Must be proactive!" Trump added, suggesting that British police was familiar with the attacker who perpetrated the attack and could have prevented it.

Trump then went on to claim that most attackers use the Internet to instigate assaults and to incite potential attackers to carry out attacks, and that security forces should amp up their efforts to clamp down on terrorism. "Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner. The internet is their main recruitment tool which we must cut off & use better," he wrote in an additional tweet.

He then penned a third tweet, this time using the incident to bring up the extended travel ban he has been attempting to reinstate in order to forbid migrants from Arab-majority countries from entering the US. "The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!" he retorted, taking a jab at critics of the executive order.

In one final tweet concerning the manner, he wrote: "We need to be smart, vigilant and tough. We need the courts to give us back our rights. We need the Travel Ban as an extra level of safety!"

When asked about Trump's comments, May said: "I never think it's helpful for anybody to speculate on what is an ongoing investigation."

She also said that the police and security services were doing all they could to identify those responsible for the "cowardly attack."
Eyewitness images show burning bucket on London underground train, September 15, 2017. (Reuters)

The US president made similar comments in June after Britain was hit by terror attacks on the London Bridge.

Britain met Trump's comments levelly, flatly denying that security forces are aware of a specific attacker as of yet. A police spokeswoman told CNN on Friday afternoon that Trump's comment was "pure speculation given we don't know who [is] involved. Any speculation is unhelpful."

The president later told reporters that he intended to call May and dubbed the attack a "terrible thing."

President Trump later spoke about the attack at Joint Base Andrew in Maryland, calling May a "wonderful woman" and relaying his sympathy to the people of Britain.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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