Trump Condemns Racism, Calls To Expand Gun Background Checks, Immigration Reform
Washington, DC – President Donald Trump promised to act “with urgent resolve” to put an end to mass shootings in the United States during an address from the White House on Monday morning.
"In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated," President Trump said, according to Politico. "Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.”
Twenty-two people were fatally shot and another 24 were wounded when a gunman opened fire at a Walmart at the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso on Saturday morning.
Nine people were killed and another 37 were injured – 14 of them by gunfire – when a gunman opened fire outside a bar in Dayton’s Oregon District in the early hours of Sunday morning.
In his speech on Monday, President Trump said the Internet, video games, and mental health issues were key contributing factors to the shooting epidemic in America, the Los Angeles Times reported.
He blamed the violence on the individual shooters.
“Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun,” President Trump said.
Earlier on Monday morning, the President tweeted in support of stronger background checks.
“We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them. Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!” he posted on Twitter.
The President did not repeat his pledge to support background checks during his address from the White House, the Los Angeles Times reported.
There are two Democratic bills to expand background checks that have already passed the House waiting for the Senate to consider them.
One would expand background checks on all gun sales and the vast majority of gun transfers, including private transfers, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The second bill would extend the time the federal government has to complete background checks on someone who is buying a gun from a licensed dealer.
President Trump had called the legislation a breach of Second Amendment rights and threatened to veto both bills if they were to pass the Senate, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Instead of flailing around blaming everything under the sun, if the president is serious about 'strong background checks' there’s one thing he can do: demand [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell] put the bipartisan House-passed universal background checks legislation on the floor of the Senate for a vote,” U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said in a statement, Politico reported.
During his address, the President said he would have the U.S. Department of Justice work closer with local police to identify and stop potential shooters.
He said his administration "asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism," according to Politico.
He also called for more “red flag” laws to take guns out of the hands of people with a history of violence or mental instability, the Los Angeles Times reported.
President Trump also called for the perpetrators of mass shootings and hate crimes to receive capital punishment and be executed without delay.
And he called on the U.S. media to take responsibility for their role in causing the tragedies.
"The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country,” President Trump tweeted. “Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!"