Monday, August 5, 2019
President Donald Trump is denouncing two mass shootings in Ohio and Texas, saying “hate has no place in our country.”
Addressing reporters in Morristown, New Jersey, Trump said Sunday that “we’re going to take care” of the problem. He says he’s been speaking to the attorney general, FBI director and members of Congress and will be making an additional statement Monday.
Trump pointed to a mental illness problem in the U.S., calling the shooters “really very seriously mentally ill.”
He says the problem of shootings has been going on “for years and years” and “we have to get it stopped.”
The shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, over the weekend left at least 29 people dead.
But as the nation reeled from the shootings, Trump spent the first hours after the tragedies out of sight at his New Jersey golf course, sending out tweets of support awkwardly mixed in with those promoting a celebrity fight and attacking his political foes.
Americans did not glimpse the president in the immediate aftermath of a shooting in El Paso, Texas, that killed at least 20 people and, hours later, one in Dayton, Ohio, that claimed at least nine lives. Not until Trump and the first lady prepared to fly back to Washington in the late afternoon Sunday did he appear before cameras.
While connecting “hate” and mental illness to the shootings, Trump made no direct mention of gun laws, a factor brought up by Democratic officials and those seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Trump’s re-election next year. He also ignored questions about the anti-immigration language in a manifesto written by the El Paso shooter that mirrors some of his own.
Trump tried to assure Americans he was dealing with the problem and defended his administration in light of criticism following the latest in a string of mass shootings.
“We have done much more than most administrations,” he said, without elaboration. “We have done actually a lot. But perhaps more has to be done.”