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As Biden reflects on Nashville bombing, Trump says nothing

Biden acknowledged the bombing, assured the public, thanked first responders, and extended support to the community shaken by the incident. Trump didn't.
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Emergency personnel work near the scene of an explosion in downtown Nashville, Tenn., on Dec. 25, 2020.Mark Humphrey / AP

President-elect Joe Biden delivered remarks on national security matters yesterday, which he prefaced by reflecting on the Christmas explosion in Nashville. "Federal, state, and local law enforcement are working around the clock to gain more information on motive and intent," Biden explained. "This bombing was a reminder of the destructive power that individuals and small groups can muster, and the need for continuing vigilance."

The president-elect went on to thank the local first responders -- including police officers and fire fighters -- for their 'bravery and cool-headedness," which "likely saved lives and prevented a worse outcome." Biden concluded, "I know the hearts of all Americans are with the people of Nashville as they rebuild and recover from this traumatic event."

To be sure, there was nothing especially extraordinary about these comments. Biden simply did what we'd expect a president to do: acknowledge the bombing, assure the public, thank first responders, and extend support to the community shaken by the incident.

The trouble, however, is that Biden won't be president for a few more weeks. The current president, meanwhile, has said nothing about the bombing. As the Washington Post noted, the White House issued a brief statement on Friday, noting that Donald Trump had been briefed on the bombing and thanking first-responders, but that was it.

Trump played a round and returned to his Mar-a-Lago resort without further comment on the attack, which injured three, damaged more than 40 businesses and disrupted cellphone and Internet service for thousands for more than two days. As of Monday, three days after authorities identified the bomber as a 63-year-old Nashville-area resident, Trump still had not commented personally on the event. He spent the day at Trump International Golf Club as part of a winter vacation that is scheduled to continue through Sunday.

That continues to be true this morning. Trump is once again on one of his golf courses, but the Republican took the time to whine in a series of tweets, none of which related to the bombing in Nashville.

The city's mayor, John Cooper (D), conceded yesterday that he hasn't heard from the president since the Christmas bombing, either.

Part of this is likely the result of Trump's wholesale indifference toward his day job. But it's also easy to imagine the relevant circumstances influenced the president's silence about what transpired in Nashville: given what we know about the alleged perpetrator, Trump probably doesn't see any way to use the incident to advance any of his grievances or ideological goals, which in turn makes the bombing largely irrelevant.

And so, the role of national leader falls to Trump's successor, who actually wants the job.