President Donald Trump on Thursday called the violence in the Philippines a “terror attack” shortly before police there said the shooting incident at a casino complex was likely the result of a robbery attempt.
The President’s comments came before his announcement that the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. “We are closely monitoring the situation,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. “But is really pretty sad what is going on throughout the world with terror. Our thoughts and our prayers are with all of those affected.”
Minutes after Trump’s remarks about the Philippines, police on the ground contradicted him. The Philippine national police chief Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa said the incident involved a lone gunman who may have been trying to rob gamblers at the resort in Manila, according to the Associated Press.
Dela Rosa said there was no indication of terrorism.
Trump, however, indicated otherwise to his audience. The President was briefed on the situation before entering the White House Rose Garden to make his remarks, Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Thursday. Trump was “going off initial reports,” Spicer said of the President’s reference to terrorism. “They briefed him that the media was reporting that ISIS was claiming responsibility.”
A Filipino operative for ISIS did take responsibility in the immediate aftermath of the attack, according to the AP, but police cast doubt on those links.
This is far from the first time Trump has made comments about an attack before full information was available. He is known for reacting quickly to incidents with claims of terrorism, often before authorities have determined a motive. Trump made similar comments last year before information was known about the EgyptAir flight MS804 and about the explosion in New York City last fall.