As a shocked nation deals with two more mass shootings, political leaders are offering solutions and assigning blame.
The president’s supporters said the aftermath of the two mass shootings isn’t a time for politics, but some of his critics said the president’s heated rhetoric on immigration and divisive attacks on people of color has contributed to a racially charged climate.
Outside of the White House, the American flag was at half staff to recognize the 29 victims of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and in Dayton, Ohio.
The president was in New Jersey and made a brief statement before heading back to Washington.
“Hate has no place in this country,” President Trump said.
President Trump pinpointed mental health as the cause, but he plans to make a more comprehensive statement Monday morning.
The shooter who killed 20 people in El Paso is reportedly a white nationalist who posted hate-filled anti-immigrant manifesto online.
Several Democratic presidential candidates harshly criticized president’s past rhetoric saying he fanned the flames.
“He is an open avowed racist and encouraging more racism in this country and this is incredibly dangerous for the United States of America right now,” Beto O’Rourke, (D)-presidential candidate, said. “All of us have a responsibility to stand up and be counted on this issue.”
The acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said it is not a time to assign political blame.
“There’s no benefit here to try to make this a political issue,” Mulvaney said. “This is a social issue.”
In Dayton, where a gunman opened fire in a crowded nightlife spot, killing nine people and wounding more than two dozen others, the Democratic and Republican senators weighed in on potential legislation.
“The House of Representatives has passed a bill to do background checks, overwhelmingly, bipartisanly,” Sherrod Brown, (D)-Ohio, said. “I’ve called on Senator McConnell to bring the Senate back in session. We can pass that in one afternoon, background checks. The president of the United States could sign it that day.”
“No law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face today as a country,” Senator Rob Portman, (R)-Ohio, said.
One of Chicago’s most prominent religious leaders is directly addressing the heated rhetoric in the political arena. Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a written statement:
“We need to hold accountable those in society, including some leaders, who fuel these violent acts by dividing humanity through hateful rhetoric. This must stop — along with the silence of our elected officials who have failed to condemn hate speech, for they are the very ones who have sworn to keep our nation safe.”