Republican nominee Donald Trump is under fire for his tweets on the Chicago murder of basketball star Dwyane Wade’s cousin, with some upset that Trump used the death to talk about himself.
Trump’s Twitter response to Nykea Aldridge’s murder was reminiscent of his controversial response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. After the Pulse tragedy, Trump had tweeted that he “called it” on a Muslim immigration ban.
Wade’s first cousin, Aldridge, a mother of four, was shot to death as she walked to an elementary school with a baby stroller. The infant was not injured in the shooting, and police said Aldridge was not the intended target. She was going to the school to register her children, and had recently relocated to seek a better life, a family spokesperson said.
The morning after the August 27, 2016 slaying, Trump tweeted:
Dwayne Wade’s cousin was just shot and killed walking her baby in Chicago. Just what I have been saying. African-Americans will VOTE TRUMP!
After people criticized Trump for misspelling Dwyane Wade’s first name, in addition to bringing up himself, he retweeted the comment with the correct spelling:
An hour and a half later, after heated criticism ensued, Trump tweeted again about the murder, this time leaving himself out of it:
Some have questioned which Tweets Trump writes himself versus which Tweets are written by staffers. Others have analyzed Trump’s tweets and noted that the Tweets coming from an Android tend to be more insulting: “When Trump wishes the Olympic team good luck, he’s tweeting from his iPhone. When he’s insulting a rival, he’s usually tweeting from an Android.”
Which one is Trump? Verge says he’s the person using the Android: “when thumbing tweets out himself, Trump is said to use a Samsung Galaxy smartphone.” Trump’s use of Twitter has been much studied because it’s considered revolutionary in a political campaign, but his tweets and retweets have also gotten him into repeated controversies.
One data scientist found that “My analysis… concludes that the Android and iPhone tweets are clearly from different people, posting during different times of day and using hashtags, links, and retweets in distinct ways.”
The controversial Trump tweeting also comes in the midst of a concerted push by Trump to court black voters. He has done so by highlighting years-old comments that Hillary Clinton made about “super predators,” and she has responded with an ad that links him and campaign CEO Stephen Bannon to the KKK and accusing Trump of bigotry. “What do you have to lose?” Trump recently told black voters, but polls show Clinton leading Trump with minority voters by large margins.
Dwyane Wade, who has spoken out in the past on gun violence in Chicago along with his mother, Pastor Jolinda Wade, also tweeted on his cousin’s death, doing so the night before the Trump tweets:
More than 2,600 people have been shot in Chicago, said ESPN, adding that “Chicago is on pace to record its largest number of homicides since 1997, when 761 people were killed in the city.”