Whenever there is a great loss of life — be it in tragedy, terrorist attack, accident — it’s standard for politicians across the political spectrum to take to social media to offer “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their families. Curiously, that was not the case in the San Bernardino shooting Wednesday.
The GOP presidential field did offer their thoughts and prayers on social media to those impacted by the mass shooting, but Democrats didn’t. And, for the first time, so-called “mainstream” journalists, progressive activists and Hollywood types mocked the GOP for doing so.
It’s a rather curious development considering offering prayers for those lost and who’ve lost is, or at least was, one of the least controversial statements a politician can make. But none of the Democrats running for president did it.
Hillary Clinton did tweet about the shooting, but it was an angry tweet about guns, not the victims.
I refuse to accept this as normal. We must take action to stop gun violence now. -H https://t.co/SkKglwQycb
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) December 2, 2015
However, in the past, Hillary was quick to offer prayers.
In the immediate aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina shooting by racist Dylann Roof:
Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) June 18, 2015
After the tragic earthquake in Nepal:
My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Nepal. –H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 25, 2015
And after the trampling of pilgrims in Mecca:
Wishing a blessed Eid to those celebrating Eid Al-Adha. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the tragedy in Mecca today. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 25, 2015
Even after the ISIS attack in Paris:
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 15, 2015
But nothing about prayers after San Bernardino.
Hillary wasn’t alone in this shift away from offering prayers. Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy mocked the concept:
Your "thoughts" should be about steps to take to stop this carnage. Your "prayers" should be for forgiveness if you do nothing – again.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) December 2, 2015
Yet after the Newtown shooting, Murphy welcome the prayers of his colleagues:
My deepest thanks to my colleagues in Congress for their thoughts, prayers, and words of support in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) December 18, 2012
And after the Charleston massacre:
My thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Charleston community as they grieve together today.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 18, 2015
And even to residents of the republic of Georgia when they suffered flooding:
My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Georgia as they begin to recover from the severe flooding in Tblisi: http://t.co/qHfr777Sjo
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) June 15, 2015
The left-wing Huffington Post did not beat around the bush on the “thoughts and prayers” issue.
In a piece, HuffPo senior politics editor Sam Stein wrote:
Public officials are the people society trusts to solve society’s ills. Like, say, gun violence. But every time multiple people have been gunned down in a mass shooting, all these officials can seemingly do is rush to offer their useless thoughts and prayers.
In the past, however, HuffPo sang a different tune:
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) August 26, 2015
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) December 14, 2012
Even Stein himself, even though he mocked it in the wake of San Bernardino, has a history of offering “thoughts and prayers:”
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) December 2, 2015
As if it were coordinated, progressives and left-wing journalists who work at outlets routinely cited by mainstream sources started teeing off on the concept of offering prayer for victims.
At least 14 dead and 14 injured. But lucky for them, the GOP is offering up loads of thoughts and prayers!
— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) December 2, 2015
How many dead people did those thoughts and prayers bring back to the life? https://t.co/FX5yWryt1o
— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) December 2, 2015
Other countries must have fewer mass shootings because their conservative politicians offer thoughts and prayers more vigorously.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) December 2, 2015
Official GOP position: "Praying." "God bless." "Praying." "Thoughts and prayers." "Praying." "Thoughts and prayers." pic.twitter.com/OyW3fQvm4w
— Scott Bixby (@scottbix) December 2, 2015
The New York Daily News even got on board:
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 3, 2015
The Washington Post:
Dear "thoughts and prayers" people: Please shut up and slink away. You are the problem, and everyone knows it.
— Gene Weingarten (@geneweingarten) December 2, 2015
My thoughts and prayers are with lawmakers actually passing gun reform in my lifetime.
— igorvolsky (@igorvolsky) December 2, 2015
Even music journalist:
IT'S ALMOST AS IF THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE NOT ENOUGH TO END GUN VIOLENCE.
— Dan Ozzi (@danozzi) December 2, 2015
The Washington Post again:
maybe this time we will finally send the right amount of thoughts and prayers to keep this from happening again
— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) December 2, 2015
Even Hollywood got into the act:
My thoughts and prayers are with the GOP candidates, who must now strategize how to continue to suck up to the NRA with a straight face.
— Miles Kahn (@mileskahn) December 2, 2015
— Mary Zilba (@MaryZilba) December 2, 2015
Today my thoughts and prayers are for the insane people that think guns aren't a major part of the problem.
— andy lassner (@andylassner) December 2, 2015
Your "thoughts and prayers" don't mean a damn thing. #GunControlNOW
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 2, 2015
Fuck these gun people. Fuck these "shooters." Fuck you GOP for killing us with your hate filled rhetoric. … https://t.co/WJT3OifwoF
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) December 2, 2015
The literary world:
My thoughts and prayers are with people who believe thoughts and prayers equal action. They don't.
— jeffpearlman (@jeffpearlman) December 2, 2015
If only there were something politicians could offer, other than thoughts and prayers, to stop gun violence. https://t.co/Ga9qkBgLkE
— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) December 2, 2015
@thebanderson And fuck all your "thoughts and prayers" while we're at it
— Brian A. Anderson (@thebanderson) December 2, 2015
Thanks to Sean Davis for gathering many of these tweets.