The same day his father spent fanning a potentially explosive flame with Iran, Donald Trump Jr. thought it a good idea to post a photo of himself smiling on Instagram while holding a custom AR-15 rifle with an image of Hillary Clinton behind bars and a “Crusader” cross Sunday. The latter is a symbol of “Christian religious war against Islam reportedly now used by white supremacists,” according to the New Civil Rights Movement, a website advocating for underrepresented minorities—a cause not exactly near and dear to the current administration’s heart.
“Nice day at the range,” Trump Jr. instead, captioned with his post. “@rarebreedfirearms and @spikes_tactical adding a little extra awesome to my AR and that mag…🔥🤣🔥🤣🔥” The businessman and eldest of the president’s children sent the image two days after his father authorized an airstrike killing Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani Friday and triggering fear of retaliation against American troops and diplomats in the Middle East.
Merely calling Trump Jr.’s post insensitive hardly gets across the severity of the situation. Jared Yates Sexton, an author and political analyst, used more certain terms to describe Trump Jr.’s recent social media imagery on Twitter Monday. “All right. Let’s talk about Donald Trump, Jr. posing with a gun adorned with crusader iconography as America teeters on the brink of a religious war, why the imprisoned Hillary Clinton image plays into apocalyptic white identity Christianity, and how this country got so screwed up,” Sexton tweeted.
Kelsey Atherton, a military tech blogger at C4ISRNET, gave his own take on the concept in a tweet Monday: “In light of Don Jr.’s ‘my divorce is going fine, thank you’ assault rifle, time to dust off this history of Tacticool that I co-wrote with @iboudreau for @waypoint back in March 2018.” “We are living in the age of tacticool, and the AR-15 pattern rifle is the weapon of the age,” Atherton and cowriter Ian Boudreau wrote in the piece. It’s unfortunate that while people like Trump Jr. are quick to boast about big guns and casually make light of death, the thousands of people who die as a result of gun violence each year in this country seldom attract a blink of their gun-enamored eyes. American troops, apparently, get the same lack of consideration.