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Trump Condemns Racism and Calls for Unity, but Some Democrats Blame Him for Hate-Fueled Mass Shootings

President Trump addresses the shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
President Trump addresses the shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

WASHINGTON, DC - President Trump says he's outraged and sickened by the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, calling on Congress to unify to find solutions to prevent future shootings. But some Democrat lawmakers are reacting with anger, charging the president with contributing to racist violence in America.

Following the deadly shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Trump is condemning white supremacy and calling for lawmakers to work together to limit access to guns to people with mental illness.

In a speech aimed at addressing the tragedies, Trump said Monday, "Our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy."
The president also laid out his ideas for how to fight gun violence. "We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence," Trump said.
He wants to make sure those posing a potential threat don't have access to guns, blocking them through red flag laws.

"Now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside, so destructive, and find the courage to answer hatred with unity, devotion and love," he said. "We must honor the sacred memory of those we have lost by acting as one people. Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided."

The president's words were not enough for some Democrats who blame him for the attacks, even going so far as to slam the New York Times for this headline: "Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism."  

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: "This front page serves as a reminder of how white supremacy is aided …by the cowardice of mainstream institutions."

The NY Times ended up changing its headline.

And Democrat presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke angrily called Trump "unbelievable," telling the president not to come to El Paso to console the city.

"We've got to acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we're seeing," O'Rourke said. "There's an environment of it in the United States. We see it on Fox News, we see it on the internet. But we also see it from our commander in chief and he is encouraging this. He doesn't just tolerate it, he encourages it."

Sen. Cory Booker (NJ), another Democratic presidential candidate, is also blaming Trump, saying, "There is complicity in the president's hatred that undermines the goodness and the decency of Americans regardless of what party."

The two shootings that rocked the nation came back to back over the weekend, only 13 hours apart.
The El Paso shooter specifically targeted Hispanics. And new video shows the Dayton shooter right outside the bar where he was shot by police – his sister among the victims.

At a vigil outside the Ohio state house, anguish turned to calls for action. "Do something!" the crowd said.

Kristen Brown, a gun control advocate with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said Congress should reinstate a ban on assault-style weapons and put restrictions on high capacity magazines as well as laws keeping weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill.
"We also need expanded background checks and we need extreme risk laws - what the president today referred to as red flag laws," she said.

In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell responded to the president's call to action. He's asked senators to begin reaching across the aisle to find solutions that don't limit people's constitutional rights to gun ownership.

Sen. Lindsey Graham is working with Democrats on red flag laws. And Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey say they have discussed their support for strengthening background checks with the president.

Despite opposition from some Democrats, the mayor of El Paso says President Trump will visit the city on Wednesday to offer his condolences.  

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