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Trump Replies to Shootings, Condemns 'White Supremacy', Calls for 'Strong Background Checks'

08-05-2019
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Protest against gun violence in El Paso, Texas

WASHINGTON, DC – President Trump addressed the two weekend mass shootings on Monday, condemning white supremacy and calling for new actions to prevent future shootings.

"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," Trump said, specifically addressing the apparent motive behind the El Paso massacre.

Speaking from the White House, Trump gave a broad assessment of the root causes behind America's ongoing problem with mass shootings, saying, "Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun."

While Trump isn't blaming guns, gun control advocates may get some of what they've been fighting for as the president also took to Twitter Monday to push Congress to act on stronger background checks, saying legislation could possibly be combined with immigration reform.

The tweet was in response to a weekend of mourning for two communities in Texas and Ohio, and the demand for legislative action from Washington after two mass shootings in less than 24 hours.

Racist Terrorism in Texas

Vigils are taking place on both sides of the border to remember the victims of Saturday's mass shooting in El Paso.

The death toll from that shooting has now been raised to 22 people, killed when a gunman began firing on people at a crowded Wal-Mart shopping complex. The toll had been at 20, but then two of the wounded victims died in the hospital Monday.

The suspect, Patrick Crusius, 21, of Allen, Texas, was taken into custody without incident and is cooperating with investigators.
 
"He basically didn't hold anything back. Particular questions were asked and he responded," El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen told reporters.  

Investigators say the motive was a hatred of immigrants and according to a manifesto posted by the gunman his goal was to stop an invasion of Hispanics.

"We are treating it as a domestic terrorism case, and we're going to do what we do to terrorists in this country which is deliver swift and certain justice," said US Attorney Josh Bash.

Maribel Latin was shot while raising money for her child's soccer team.

"I had to pretend I was dead and all I could say was 'God please take care of my children'," she said.

Ohio Gunman Kept a 'Hit List'

Just 13 hours later, a second mass shooting – this time at a popular entertainment district in Dayton, Ohio.

Witness Gary Pullen said, "People started running and that's when I started hearing shots fired and bullets were just riddling."

Nine people were killed, among them, the alleged shooter's sister.

Police were able to neutralize the gunman in less than a minute.

"Their amazing courage and the response undoubtedly saved many many many lives," said Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
 
Although there is no known motive so far, high school classmates allege the shooter kept a 'hit list' and 'rape list' of fellow students.  

Across the country, the calls for gun control from Congress are growing louder.

Presidential candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke, however, lays the blame for Saturday's shooting at the feet of the president.

"Anybody who begins their campaign for the presidency by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, anybody who describes asylum seekers at the US Mexico border as an infestation, or an invasion or animals...sows the kind of fear, the kind of reaction that we saw in El Paso yesterday," O'Rourke said in an interview with CBS' Face the Nation.  

While the el Paso shooter was supportive of the president's policies, he states his views on immigrants pre-date Trump's presidency.

White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney decried Democratic presidential candidate's pointing the finger at Trump, saying the problem cuts deeper.  

"These are crazy people, sick people. And until we figure out why we are creating so many people like this in this culture. Why we are giving them such wide sort of audiences on social media, why we are making weapons available to them when they probably shouldn't get them... those are the conversations to have," Mulvaney told Meet the Press Sunday.

 

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