Early Sunday morning, before his tweets about Easter and the Mueller report, President Donald Trump expressed condolences to families of the victims of the Sri Lanka explosions - and grossly overstated the death toll.
"Heartfelt condolences from the people of the United States to the people of Sri Lanka on the horrible terrorist attacks on churches and hotels that have killed at least 138 million people and badly injured 600 more," Trump tweeted. "We stand ready to help!"
As of 2018, the population of Sri Lanka was around 22 million.
More than 200 people have died in the coordinated explosions, which struck churches and hotels on Easter Sunday in three cities. About 450 are injured.
Early estimates reported by news outlets put the death toll at 137.
Within an hour, the president deleted the incorrect tweet and sent a new one: "138 people have been killed in Sri Lanka, with more that 600 badly injured, in a terrorist attack on churches and hotels. The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka. We stand ready to help!" he wrote.
Trump's response to the explosions in Sri Lanka was the first thing he tweeted about Sunday morning. The president has faced criticism for his response to tragedies, sometimes for the content of his statements, but more often it is his omissions and delayed responses that invite criticism.
After the attack New Zealand mosques on March 15, in which 50 people were allegedly killed by a white supremacist during Friday services, Trump was criticized for initially spending much of his time on Twitter that weekend attacking rivals, retweeting conspiracy theorists and condemning the media rather than addressing the attack perpetrated against Muslims. Several days later, he tweeted that the the "Fake News Media is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand."
Critics also questioned why the Notre Dame fire in Paris garnered a total of four tweets last week and a pledge of support to France from the president, while three black churches that burned in Louisiana weeks earlier went unacknowledged on Trump's feed. Authorities say the three churches, which burned within 10 days of one another in the same parish, were deliberately set ablaze by a white man they have charged with arson and hate crimes.
In the most notable instance, Trump drew widespread criticism for his response to the Charlottesville, Virginia, protests in 2017 in which white supremacists clashed with counterprotesters in a melee that left one woman dead. The president initially blamed "many sides" and "both sides" for the violence, contradicting official White House statements that specifically condemned white supremacy, Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. Politicians from both parties criticized the president for his remarks.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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