'That's too bad': Trump response to news 10 sailors could be dead is condemned

Donald Trump was reportedly not briefed prior to the gaffe

Donald Trump responded to the news that 10 sailors are missing after an American destroyer collided with an oil tanker with the phrase: “that’s too bad”.

The navy said five others were hurt after the incident on Monday in waters east of Singapore and the Strait of Malacca.

The USS John S McCain sustained damage on its port side aft — the left rear of the vessel — from the collision with the Alnic MC.

Trump, the commander-in-chief, was widely condemned after offering the curt response to reporters when told of the crash.

VoteVets, an alliance of progressive military members, said: “This is a joke. ‘That’s too bad’ is more for your golf game not missing sailors.”

Scott Dworkin of the TheDemCoalition said: “There’s a US military accident & Trump says that’s “too bad.” He must resign immediately.”

Breitbart, the far-right news website, run by Steve Bannon, who was sacked as chief strategist last week, reported that Trump had not been briefed about the collision.

Quoting a source with “direct knowledge of these matters”, the website reported that senior staff had failed to notify Trump of the incident.

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“What went wrong is the president was not briefed and was not kept abreast as the incident developed,” the source said.

In particular, the article pointed the finger at national security adviser General HR McMaster and General Kelly with whom Bannon is said to have had particularly strained relationships.

“This is part of a bigger pattern of growing evidence of disrespect for the president and manipulating the information that is given to him similar to the decision with Afghanistan,” the source allegedly said.

“The blame for this rests solely on the shoulders of two individuals — General HR McMaster and General Kelly — both of whom as flag officers should know better than to keep the commander-in-chief in the dark on these types of issues,” they added.

On Sunday, Breibert also published an article accusing McMaster as being soft on Islamic extremism and terrorism.

Following the collision, Malaysia’s navy chief Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin tweeted that two ships as well as aircraft from its navy and air force have been deployed to help look for the missing US sailors.

The Strait of Malacca is a narrow body of water between Malaysia to the northeast and Indonesia to the southwest, with the city-state of Singapore at the tip of the Malay Peninsula.

It is the second collision involving a ship from the 7th Fleet in the Pacific in two months. In June, seven sailors died when the USS Fitzgerald and a container ship hit each other in waters off Japan.

Later, Trump tweeted a more considered statement.

“Thoughts & prayers are w/ our @USNavysailors aboard the #USSJohnSMcCain where search & rescue efforts are underway,” he said.

Senator John McCain tweeted: “Cindy & I are keeping America’s sailors aboard the USS John S McCain in our prayers tonight – appreciate the work of search & rescue crews.”

Four of the injured sailors were evacuated by a Singaporean navy helicopter to a hospital in Singapore for treatment for non-life threatening injuries, and one did not require further medical attention.