President Trump declared the two shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left at least 29 people dead over the weekend a “mental illness problem.”
“Our nation is overcome with shock, horror, and sorrow,” Trump announced from the White House. “We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil.”
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Trump said, standing beside Vice President Pence. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hatred has no place in America.”
Among his list of proposals, Trump called for reforms to mental health laws “to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence,” adding that we must “make sure those people not only get treatment but when necessary, involuntary confinement.”
“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Trump said,calling for red-flag laws to allow firearms to be seized by those judged to pose a serious threat to public safety.
He added: “We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. … It is too easy for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this and it has to begin immediately. “
In a pair of tweets earlier this morning, Trump said, “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”
Trump also took a shot at the media, blasting the role of “fake news” for stoking anger in the country.
“The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years” Trump said in a tweet. “News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”
The first shooting occurred Saturday morning, when a gunman identified as Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old from Allen, Texas, opened fire at a packed Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso with an assault rifle, killing 20 people and wounding dozens. Thirteen hours later, Connor Betts, 24, killed nine people, including his sister, with an AR-15-like assault rifle in less than a minute outside a bar in downtown Dayton.
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney referred to the gunmen in El Paso and Dayton “crazy people” who “should not be able to get guns.”
“Sick people who are intent on doing things like this should not be able to buy guns legally,” he said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Other Republican officials, including Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick blamed the attacks on violent video games or the lack of prayers in school, while Democrats condemned the El Paso attack as white nationalist terrorism linked to Trump’s rhetoric.