President Donald Trump yesterday called for urgent action to prevent gun violence and said all Americans must “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy” after mass shootings in Texas and Ohio killed 29 people and wounded dozens.
Trump, whose rhetoric has frequently been condemned as stoking racial divisions, laid out a number of policy options but did not mention his own past remarks.
“These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” Trump said in remarks at the White House. “Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
On Saturday, a gunman killed 20 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in what authorities said appeared to be a racially motivated hate crime. Just 13 hours later, another gunman in downtown Dayton, Ohio, killed nine people.
Trump said mental health laws should be reformed to better identify mentally disturbed individuals and he called for capital punishment for those who commit mass murder and hate crimes.
He said he had directed the Justice Department to work with local authorities and social media companies to detect mass shooters before they strike. He said the Internet, social media and violent video games had helped radicalize people.
Earlier yesterday, Trump had urged lawmakers in a tweet to put strong checks in place on potential gun buyers, suggesting action could be tied with immigration reform. In his remarks at the White House, however, he did not mention immigration.
“We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!” Trump wrotein a tweet.
The president has made a crackdown on immigration both legal and illegal a centerpiece of his presidency and even more so of late as he campaigns for re-election next year and reaches out to his largely white, working-class base.