First Lady Melania Trump was the first member of the Trump family to respond to the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday. “Thoughts and prayers to #Barcelona,” her office wrote. President Donald Trump later responded to the attack, vowing to help Spanish authorities.
The President’s own statement reads, “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!”
Reuters reports that a White House spokesperson has confirmed that Trump is being kept up to date on the situation. He is currently in New Jersey, finishing his August vacation.
While Trump did not responded immediately, other government agencies quickly responded to the crisis. The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs’ Twitter account has issued a warnings to Americans traveling in Barcelona, telling them to stay away from the usually busy Las Rambas area. The office urged Americans to contact their loved ones to let them know they are safe.
The U.S. Consulate in Barcelona also warned Americans to stay away from the area and to pay attention to local police updates.
House Speaker Paul Ryan called the attack “pure evil.”
The attack began when a large white van drove into a crowd of people at the bust Las Ramblas, a boulevard popular with tourists. Police have treated the incident as terrorism and Spanish media has reported that there are multiple deaths, The Guardian reports.
Police also told anyone near the Plaça de Catalunya, the square in central Barcelona, to stay inside.
Spain’s El Pais reports that authorities have confirmed that at least 13 people are dead after the attack and 100 others were wounded. Authorities called it a “deliberate and massive” attack, El Pais reports.
Driss Oukabir was first identified as a possible suspect. However, Spain’s El Pais now reports that Oukabir went to police and claimed his identification was stolen. Investigators believe that his brother, 18-year-old brother, Moussa Oukabir, is a suspect, although this is still not confirmed. Police have said they have two men in custody.
No terrorist organization has taken responsibility for the attack, but ISIS channels were celebrating it. Graphic video of the aftermath shows people on the street, bloodied and being tended to by authorities and others at the scene.
Although Melania Trump’s Twitter account is not as active as her husband’s, her team has been quicker to respond to incidents than the President. For example, her office tweeted about the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia before the President did.