2020 Democrats blast Trump's response to shootings

Democratic presidential candidates roundly criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE’s response on Monday to two deadly mass shootings over the weekend, accusing him of sidestepping critical conversations about gun violence and the role of white nationalism in such attacks.

Several candidates took to Twitter in the minutes following an address by Trump to condemn the president’s remarks as insufficient.

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They argued that Trump failed not only to address the range of causes for mass shootings, but to acknowledge what they said was his role in inflaming racial and ethnic tensions.

“Mr. President, immigration isn’t the problem. White nationalism is the problem. America’s inaction on gun safety legislation is the problem,” former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE, the Democratic primary field’s ostensible front-runner, tweeted.

“It’s time to put the politics aside and pass universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. Lives depend on it.”

In a tweet, Rep. Seth MoultonSeth MoultonEx-CBO director calls for more than trillion in coronavirus stimulus spending Overnight Defense: Trump’s move to use military in US sparks backlash | Defense officials take heat | Air Force head calls Floyd’s death ‘a national tragedy’ Democrats blast Trump’s use of military against protests MORE (D-Mass.) said that while Trump was quick to place blame on video games, the media and the internet, he did not discuss how Republicans and his own “racist rhetoric” propagated acts of mass violence.

The pair of mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend left at least 31 people dead and dozens more injured. In the case of the El Paso attack, authorities are investigating whether the shooting was linked to an anti-immigrant manifesto posted online on Saturday.

In an address on Monday morning, Trump condemned “racism, bigotry and white supremacy.” He did not mention a proposal he suggested hours earlier to tie stronger background checks for firearm sales to immigration reform legislation. 

Instead, he blamed “mentally ill monsters” and violent video games for contributing to the rash of mass shootings in the United States. 

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger — not the gun,” Trump said.

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Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants Black lawmakers unveil bill to remove Confederate statues from Capitol Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-N.J.), who is among those seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said soon after that the president’s remarks were inadequate, failing to place blame on the real driving forces behind the mass shootings.

“The president is weak. And wrong,” Booker tweeted. “White supremacy is not a mental illness, and guns are a tool that white supremacists use to fulfill their hate.”

Another 2020 hopeful, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Democrats demand Republican leaders examine election challenges after Georgia voting chaos Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk MORE (D-Minn.), said that Trump’s remarks amounted to a “dodge to avoid truth.” While mental illness and hate are not exclusive to the U.S., she said, the high rate of gun violence is. 

“There’s mental illness&hate throughout world, but U.S. stands alone w/high rate of gun violence. When someone can kill 9 people in a minute, that gun should never have been sold,” she tweeted, referring to the shooting in Dayton that left nine people dead after less than a minute of gunfire. 

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioProtesters splash red paint on NYC streets to symbolize blood De Blasio: Robert E Lee’s ‘name should be taken off everything in America, period’ House Democratic whip pushes back on calls to defund police: We need to focus on reform MORE (D) criticized Trump as well, writing on Twitter that he was “too busy blaming the ‘fake news media’ and people with mental illness to speak the truth.”

“We’re facing an epidemic caused by white supremacy and easy access to military-grade weapons,” De Blasio wrote. “The truth is plain as day. Open your eyes and grow a damn spine, @realDonaldTrump.”

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Julián Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development secretary and one of two Texans in the presidential race, said that not only has Trump propagated racism, bigotry and white nationalism, but “often serves as their national spokesperson.”

“Donald Trump is unfit to lead our nation. His words could not be more hollow,” Castro said. “He says ‘we must condemn racism, bigotry and white nationalism’ — but often serves as their national spokesperson.”

“In this national emergency, our president is morally bankrupt,” Castro continued. “We deserve better.”

Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanMinnesota AG Keith Ellison says racism is a bigger problem than police behavior; 21 states see uptick in cases amid efforts to reopen Congress must fill the leadership void Pelosi pushes to unite party on coronavirus bill despite grumbling from left MORE (D-Ohio), who represents a district in northeastern Ohio, used an expletive to pan the president for misstating the location of one of the shootings that occurred over the weekend. Trump, at one point, mentioned Toledo, Ohio, instead of Dayton.

“Toledo,” Ryan tweeted. “Fck me.”

Updated at 12:57 p.m.

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