Trump spoke to the press this morning to indicate his concerns and sympathies about the weekend shootings and his support for background checks but fell short of acknowledging his own remarks had something to do with motive in the El Paso terror attack.

On the South Lawn, at approximately 9:13 this morning, before the President’s departure to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, he talked with the press about a wide range of topics including many questions focused his reaction to the series of shooting attacks that occurred over the weekend and what his response in the form of action will be.

President Trump also took questions from the press about questions concerning his rhetoric and actions amidst the terror attack in El Paso, Texas and the shooting in Dayton, Ohio. The shootings appear at this time to be uncorrelated with entirely different motives, but many question the circumstances that led to both shootings and the inspiration behind them. The number of mass shootings (defined by Gun Violence Archive as any shooting where four people are injured — not killed — excluding the shooter) this year in the United States outnumbers the number of days in 2019 so far. 

Two Mass Shootings In 20 Hours

Across the country, people took to the media to express concerns about the President’s lack of ability to stand up to the gun lobby and his divisive rhetoric about Latinx immigrants that led to an increase in hate crimes against them, and other underrepresented groups, culminating in El Paso terrorist attack that took place last weekend. Two shootings, within the span of 20 hours, left the country with two heartbreaking dilemmas: The Second Amendment vs Gun Control and Hate vs Acceptance. How do weapons of war get into the hands of people who seek to exterminate an entire group because of that group’s differences? 

When the President asked if he was concerned about the rise of white supremacy and if he would do something about it, he stated that he is “concerned about the rise of any group of hate.  I don’t like it. Any group of hate . . . whether it’s white supremacy, whether it’s any other kind of supremacy, whether it’s Antifa, whether it’s any group of hate, I am very concerned about it. And I’ll do something about it.”

How are we to trust these words? He cannot stop himself from tweeting that four minority congresswomen should go back to their “crime infested” countries. He then waited a full thirteen seconds to cut off chants from his supporters to “send her back,” referring to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, a United States citizen. He also tweeted that Representative Elijah Cumming’s district was infested and no human being would want to live there, a place that is home to a majority Black population. His history of the rhetoric surrounding the Latinx immigrant, Muslim, and Black populations is a stark contrast with the values of the country he claims to be President of.

The President claimed that “I think my rhetoric is a very — it brings people together.  Our country is doing incredibly well.” Trump and many other right-wing leaders, including Breitbart News, are putting the focus, instead, on the left for the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, pointing out that the shooter in Dayton supported Antifa, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren. They place emphasis on that shooting rather than the terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas, which was driven by white supremacy and the shooter was a known Trump supporter

When asked this morning to respond to his critics who claim his rhetoric is emboldening white supremacist terrorism in the United States, Trump responded saying “if you look at Dayton, that was a person that supported, I guess you would say, Bernie Sanders, I understood; Antifa, I understood; Elizabeth Warren, I understood. It had nothing to do with President Trump,” then went on to say, “no, I don’t blame Elizabeth Warren, and I don’t blame Bernie Sanders in the case of Ohio. And I don’t blame anybody.”

Mental Health and Gun Control

He did blame mental health on both attacks, refusing to place emphasis on gun control and white supremacy; “these are sick people. These are people that are really mentally ill, mentally disturbed. It’s a mental problem. And we’re going to be meeting — we’re going to be meeting with members of Congress.  I’ve already got meetings scheduled. And I have had plenty of talks over the last two days. And I think something is going to be come up with. We’re going to come with something that’s going to be, really, very good — beyond anything that’s been done so far.” He made no specific suggestions or statements about what a plan would entail or if he had any ideas about what mental health legislation should be put in place on a federal level

The President did suggest that there needs to be a federal background check policy established, stating that he thinks “we can bring up background checks as we’ve never had before.  I think both Republican and Democrat are getting close to a bill on — they’re doing something on background checks.” The President did accomplish a banning of bump stocks earlier in his term. Any bills that would enforce background checks or ban assault rifles are currently stuck in the Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refuses to bring them to the Senate for discussion.

In order to get what he wants — what a majority of United States citizens want — Trump may have to go against his own party, something he does not seem keen on doing; the party that is accused of being silent in the face of President Trump’s controversial racist and xenophobic rhetoric. In this presidency, it is not a mystery what will end up happening policy-wise in regard to mental health, white supremacy, and gun control: nothing. 

Margaret Valenti

Margaret Valenti is the Editor of Generation Z Voice at The Pavlovic Today. 

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