Hours after a terrorist incident in the London Underground on Friday, President Donald Trump went on a Twitter rant, saying the attack was carried out by a “loser” and that those responsible for the assault were on the radar of Scotland Yard.
It was unclear where Trump had come by this information. UK officials have not said publicly who was behind Friday’s attack.
A spokesperson for the Met told BuzzFeed News that Trump’s tweets were “pure speculation” and characterized them as “unhelpful”.
“Anyone with information relating to the investigation should contact the counter-terrorism hotline,” the spokesperson added.
Trump also seized upon the incident to renew his push for a travel ban for people from predominantly Muslim countries. He had tweeted similar messages in June following the terrorist attack on London Bridge.
The explosion at the Parsons Green tube station in west London during the morning rush hour Friday has been declared a terrorist incident and police confirmed that an “improvised explosive device” was used in the attack that left 22 injured.
The Metropolitan Police tweeted that they have not yet identified the attacker but an investigation is underway.
The president’s comments come just months after intelligence sharing between the US and UK was strained when information was leaked by US officials in the aftermath of the Manchester attack.
Just hours after the Manchester attack, US news outlets were citing US officials claiming to identify the suspect before the Manchester police had released the information. The New York Times also published crime scene photos from the terror attack.
At the time UK Prime Minister Theresa May said, “I will make clear to President Trump that intelligence that is shared between our law enforcement agencies must remain secure.” Following the leaks, Trump announced that the US Justice Department was launching a “complete review” on the leaks.
Shashank Joshi, senior fellow at the UK security think tank RUSI, said he was “not sure what to make of Trump’s tweet.”
“If he is basing this on liaison-supplied information, then it would certainly aggravate the tensions on display in the Manchester episode. But it seems to me equally possible that he is speculating, and is referring to Scotland Yard’s general concern about radicalized individuals rather than the specific attacker in question,” Joshi said.
Former chief of staff to May said that Trump’s tweet was “unhelpful” and that he was “sure he doesn’t know” whether or not those responsible were known to Scotland Yard.
Following his initial tweet, Trump went on to say that “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!”
Just like he did during the London Bridge attack in June, he also used the incident to call for support of a travel ban. Labour MP Neil Coyle stood up for the Metropolitan Police and said that the police “don’t need Trump’s idiotic excuse for extending his travel ban,” according to the Mirror.
He also pointed out that “Scotland Yard makes an arrest every four days using counter-terrorism intelligence.”
Trump went on to tout progress made in the fight against ISIS since he’s taken office and urged that we “must be proactive & nasty!”