In the aftermath of Tuesday’s terror attack in New York City, Wednesday’s Morning Joe devoted most of their broadcast to reporting on how the city was reacting to the incident and what the broader implications of the attack were. Part of that coverage included the hosts and guests of the show repeatedly trashing President Trump for his tweets suggesting that tougher restrictions on immigration were needed to prevent future attacks by immigrants like the Uzbek national who just killed eight people. The liberal panelists were also upset by Trump pointing out that Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer supported the visa lottery program that reportedly allowed the terrorist into the U.S. back in 2010.
In one brief segment reporting from the scene of yesterday’s attack, co-host Willie Geist brought on Chairman and CEO of the Soufan Group and occasional MSNBC guest Ali Soufan to talk about Trump’s Twitter commentary:
GEIST: I want to bring in former FBI agent Ali Soufan. Again, Ali led the investigation into the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in 2000 and was a key figure in investigating the attacks of September 11th, four blocks south of here. I want to get you, Ali, to talk a little bit about the tweets from President Trump, what he said, and specifically the significance of a President of the United States coming out this quickly and speaking this way.
SOUFAN: This is so -- look, you know, when terrorist attacks happen, often terrorist organizations capitalize on the aftermath of the attack more than the attack itself. How are we gonna react to it? How the political leadership is gonna react to it [sic]? Is it gonna unite us as a country or divide us as a country? Well, they want to divide us. That's why they are doing these kind of things. We have to be careful and our political leadership have to be extremely careful not to actually do something that the terrorists want us to do. See, Willie, today we're dealing with a message. The threat is a message. ISIS and groups like ISIS understand that their most potent weapon is not a bomb, is not a gun, is not a knife, is not even a truck, it's a message. The message is bulletproof. And as long as they are able to appeal to people around the world and inspires attack like this, they're gonna believe that they are winning. And in a way, they are winning when they inspire an individual like this guy to come and kill eight people in New York City.
Geist then asked Soufan to put himself in the shoes of a terrorist and evaluate Trump’s characterization of Sen. Schumer as a key opponent of immigration barriers from that perspective:
GEIST: And what does a terrorist think, Ali, when he wakes up this morning and reads a tweet from the President of the United States who reacts to this by blaming a member, another United States politician, of another party?
SOUFAN: Well, we’re creating division inside that country. Terrorism is working. You know, and unfortunately, with the President's tweet today, he kind of made it clear that territorial losses of ISIS in Mosul, in Raqqa, in Iraq and Syria, will definitely be overlasted with the inspirational message that ISIS is putting out. Their inspirational message, their brand is still very potent and this is an example. And President Trump agreed with them in that by dividing our country further today.
It is important to note that Soufan was not praising ISIS’s message as “inspirational,” but rather referring to the probable fact that the Uzbek terrorist was inspired by ISIS’s message to commit his act of terrorism instead of pre-planning it directly with terrorist leaders or agents.
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Still, the blame that Soufan placed on Trump for dividing the country was pretty ridiculous, as was his assertion that Trump is “agreeing” with ISIS or somehow helping the terror group with its master plan. In reality, one of ISIS’s main goals over the past several years has been to funnel its soldiers into Europe and the United States by way of slipping them into migrant or refugee streams from the Middle East and North Africa. So, how exactly do Trump’s proposals to stop that flow into America help ISIS? Wouldn’t tighter refugee and immigration controls be exactly what ISIS wouldn’t want to have happen? Neither Soufan nor any of the other guests or hosts of the show bothered to address these points or to explain precisely how Trump’s tweets would be such a boon for terrorists.