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Trump Calls For Condemnation Of Racism After Mass Shootings, Says 'Hate Pulls Trigger'

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Trump Calls For Condemnation Of Racism After Mass Shootings, Says 'Hate Pulls Trigger'

President Donald Trump said Monday that America “must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy," adding that the country needs to do more to stop mass killings before they occur in the wake of two shootings that left 30 people dead.

Trump focused heavily on “the internet and social media” along with mental illness as the root of the problem, though he also called for laws that make it easier for the government to take firearms away from those with a mental illness through so-called “red flag” laws.

Trump also said he was “open and ready to listen and discuss all ideas that will actually work” in an effort to stop mass shootings that have seemingly become a regular occurrence.

“Open wounds cannot heal if we are divided,” Trump said in brief remarks at the White House. “We must seek real bipartisan solutions.”

Hate Has No Place

Trump, who is regularly blamed by Democrats and some Republicans for encouraging racial hatred, said the country needs to condemn bigotry and white supremacy.

The speech offered some of his first clear denunciations of racial or cultural hate ideology after several years of speaking much less forcefully about it or seeming to encourage it.

“These sinister ideologies must be defeated,” Trump said. “Hate has no place in America.”

A shooter opened fire in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday after a racist, anti-immigrant screed believed by authorities to have been posted by the shooter went up online. The death toll in the shooting on Monday morning rose to 21.

Another shooting early Sunday in Dayton, Ohio left another nine people dead.

Blaming The Internet

While calling for red flag laws to take guns away from the mentally incompetent, Trump mostly focused on fixing blame for shootings on the culture, citing the internet, social media and video games as being among the problems.

“We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and want dark acts,” Trump said. “The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored and they will not be ignored.” 

Trump directed the Department of Justice to work with social media companies to develop tools that could detect potentially violent people before they act.

“We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people not only get treatment, but when necessary, involuntary confinement,” Trump said. “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”

The president also said the country needs to end “the glorification of violence in our society” in video games and other media.

Democrats quickly waved off Trump’s remarks as disingenuous.

Among their complaints: while Trump called for bipartisan reforms, and earlier in the day called on Twitter for expanded background checks for gun buyers, Trump has for months threatened to veto House-passed legislation doing just that.

Trump didn’t elaborate on his background check tweet during his remarks.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, a Democratic presidential candidate, called Trump’s address “weak” and said Democrats should condemn his “lack of a real plan.”

Related Links: 

30 People Killed In Mass Shootings In Dayton, El Paso

Trump Suggests Need To Strengthen Background Checks In Wake Of Shootings, But Ties In Immigration Policy

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump walk across the South Lawn of the White House on Sunday, Aug. 4. White House photo by Tia Dufour.

 

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