You Reap What You Sow: Dems Point Finger of Blame Over Twin Shooting at Trump’ Racist Rhetoric
By Staff, Agencies
As the United States stood stunned by two multiple shootings in less than 24 hours that killed 29 people and injured at least 50 others, US President Donald Trump claimed he was readying measures to address gun violence and could make an announcement as early as Monday.
“I’m talking to a lot of people, and a lot of things are in the works,” he told reporters in New Jersey, where he had spent the weekend playing golf and tweeting his condolences following the carnage in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. “We have to get it stopped. It’s been going on for years. Years and years, and we have to get it stopped.”
He said he believed both shooters were “really very seriously mentally ill” and added: “I’ll be making a statement tomorrow, sometime. Hate has no place in our country, and we’re going to take care of it.”
As Trump was speaking, authorities in the two cities were scrambling to deal with multiple challenges. In Ohio, officials said they were still trying to assess what led 24-year-old Connor Betts to open fire outside the Ned Peppers bar in the Oregon neighborhood, killing nine people and injuring more than 20 before he was shot dead by nearby police officers, who responded within 30 seconds.
Meanwhile in El Paso, a city on the border with Mexico, police said they increasingly believed a racist manifesto posted online that talked about responding to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and praising the person who carried out shooting rampages at two mosques in New Zealand earlier this year, was the work of shooting suspect Patrick Crusius.
El Paso has a large migrant population, and the manifesto posted online suggested it had been intentionally chosen for that reason. Many of those people paying their respects said they believed that Trump’s racist language – last month he was formally condemned by the House of Representatives after tweeting that four Democratic congresswomen should go back to their countries of origin – was a factor to what had happened.
Joseph de la Cruz, 36, said: “It has a lot to do with it. It has a lot to do with what our leader says.”
Larry Scott, 40, a member of the US army, had been in the Walmart around 6.30 a.m. on Saturday morning, about four hours before the incident. He said he was feeling shaken by what had happened.
Asked about the possible impact of the president’s language, he said it was hard to measure the extent it impact people. Yet he said he believed that with the president “being so bold… people feel this is allowed. It kind of justifies it.”
In the meantime, Democrats condemned Trump’s racism and Congress’ failure to take action on gun control.
Pete Buttigieg, a presidential primary candidate, said the US was “under attack from white nationalist terrorism”.
He said that the attacker was “abetted by weak gun laws” and added: “If we are serious about national security, we must summon the courage to name and defeat this evil.”
Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who represented the district where the attack took place, said the US president bore some responsibility for the attack which left 20 people dead.
“He is a racist, and he stokes racism in this country,” he added.
“It does not just offend our sensibilities; it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”
“You reap what you sow, and he is sowing seeds of hate in this country. This harvest of hate violence we’re seeing right now lies at his feet,” senator Cory Booker of New Jersey told NBC. “He is responsible.”
Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, said: “He is encouraging this. He doesn’t just tolerate it; he encourages it. Folks are responding to this. It doesn’t just offend us, it encourages the kind of violence that we’re seeing, including in my home town of El Paso yesterday.”
Furthermore, Trump’s interaction at a Florida rally three months before El Paso massacre was with anger online.
At a rally in May 2019, Trump laughed and joked after a supporter suggested shooting Mexican migrants.
“When you have 15,000 people marching up, and you have hundreds and hundreds of [immigrants], and you have two or three border security people that are brave and great – and don’t forget we don’t let them and we can’t let them use weapons,” Trump said, to an audience of thousands in Florida.
“We can’t. Other countries do, we can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?”
In response someone from the audience shouted: “Shoot them!”
Trump then appeared to laugh before shaking his head and saying: “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”
The crowd then erupted into laughter and cheers, and Trump added: “Only in the Panhandle!”
The Florida Panhandle is a region in the north west of the state.
The clip of the interaction is once again spreading across social media.