In a horrifying weekend that saw two mass shootings, in as many days leaving nearly 30 dead, the President and leading Democrats have united to condemn hate and gun violence.
On Sunday, the President –in no uncertain terms — denounced the two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, saying “hate has no place in our country.”
As the president spoke, top Democratic presidential candidates — including Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker — demanded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recall Congress from its recess, currently slated to last until the second week of September, to vote on initiatives to curb gun violence.
Addressing reporters in Morristown, New Jersey, Trump promised “we’re going to take care” of the problem.
The day before, on Saturday, reacting to the first shooting in El Paso, President Trump tweeted, “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people. Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the great people of Texas.”
In response to that shooting, Former El Paso-area U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, called the shooting “Truly heartbreaking.”
“Stay safe, El Paso,” his message continued. “Please follow all directions of emergency personnel as we continue to get more updates.”
Similarly, 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Ind., wrote, “My grandmother used to take me to Cielo Vista Mall. Now it’s one more mass shooting scene. How many more must grieve before we act? #ElPaso.”
Back on Sunday, after the second shooting in Ohio, Trump pointed to a mental illness problem in the U.S., calling the shooters “really very seriously mentally ill.”
He said the problem of shootings has been going on “for years and years” and “we have to get it stopped.”
The shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend left at least 29 people dead.
More Details of the Weekend of Violence
The gunman in the Ohio rampage, 24-year-old Connor Betts, opened fire outside a bar around 1 a.m. Sunday, killing his adult sister and eight others. Police say he was fatally shot by officers within 30 seconds, and was wearing a mask, bulletproof vest, and earplugs. It is reported he had at least 100 rounds. He injured more than two dozen people, with one in critical condition, police said Sunday. Police had not determined a motive for the attack as of Sunday evening.
Meanwhile, authorities in Texas said the mass shooting is being investigated as a domestic terrorism case. Officials are also looking into whether hate crime charges against gunman Patrick Crusius, who has also been charged with capital murder, are appropriate after an alleged manifesto believed to be written by the 21-year-old could indicate “a nexus to a hate crime.”
The document posted online expressed concern that an influx of Hispanics into the United States will replace aging white voters, potentially turning Texas blue in elections and swinging the White House to the Democrats.
However, “The first mistake people are making is to assume the creep meant anything he said in his manifesto,” wrote columnist Brian Cates. “Something new has been added into the mix in the last year and we have to recognize it: Mass shootings done for **fun** as the ultimate troll where these [shooters] write confusing manifestos and then sit back & watch the fun as both sides claim he belongs to the other.”
Democrats Blame Trump
While the Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination, united with Trump to condemn the hate-filled violence, few missed the opportunity to lay the blame at the Presidents feet.
Cory Booker, D-N.J., declared that Trump is “responsible” for the El Paso shooting.
California Sen. Kamala Harris also found blame in Trump’s use of language, which she said has “incredible consequence.”
“We have a president of the United States who has chosen to use his words in a way that have been about selling hate and division among us,” she told reporters.
Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, accused Trump of being a white nationalist and says he is encouraging “open racism.”
However, another Democratic presidential contender, Julian Castro said “there’s one person that’s responsible directly” for the massacre — “and that’s the shooter.”
In North Las Vegas, Bernie Sanders became one of several prominent Democrats to demand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell call senators back to Washington from their summer recess.
He said the Senate should “have a special session to address gun violence in America and let us finally have the courage to take on the NRA.”
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, shot back, defending his boss against these kinds of accusations by the top Democrats that President Trump’s rhetoric on issues like immigration is, in part, responsible for the two mass shootings over the last 24 hours.
“This is a serious problem, no question about it, but these are sick, sick people and the president knows it,” Mulvaney said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But I don’t think it’s fair to lay this at the feet of the president.”
Mulvaney added that shortly after Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, Texas – where 20 people were killed and dozens more wounded inside a Walmart – Trump ordered Attorney General William Barr “to find out what we could do to prevent this type of thing from happening, what we could do to send a message to the sick people who would do this type of thing.”