Donald Trump conceded Wednesday that the man suspected of killing 49 club-goers this weekend in Orlando, Florida was indeed born in the United States, although Trump said his ideas were “born from someplace else.”
Trump said at a rally in Atlanta, Georgia that the number of people entering the United States was “beyond the money.”
“Even if you had a small percentage of people coming in thinking like this person, who, again, was born here but, his parents weren’t, and his ideas weren’t born here,” Trump said. “His ideas were born from someplace else.”
Trump had suggested the day after the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub that the shooter, identified as 29-year-old Omar Mateen, was born in Afghanistan. Mateen actually was born in New York.
“The killer whose name I will not use or ever say was born in Afghan—of Afghan parents who emigrated to the United States,” Trump said at the time.
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had jumped on Trump for that misstatement, saying Tuesday that Mateen was “born in Queens, New York just like Donald himself.”
Trump on Wednesday again reiterated his belief, as he did after the Paris terror attacks and after the mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, that there would be fewer victims if the people present had been armed.
“If some of those great people that were in that club that night had guns strapped to their waist or strapped to their ankle, and if the bullets were going in the other direction aimed at this guy who was just open target practice, you would have had a situation, folks, which would have been always horrible, but nothing like the carnage that we all, as a people, suffered this weekend,” Trump said.
Yet an anonymous law enforcement source told local TV station WFAA that the large crowd of people and the confusing layout of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando could’ve resulted in some victims being shot by police officers who stormed the scene.
“I will say this, that’s all part of the investigation,” Orlando Police Chief John Mina said, according to WFAA.
This post has been updated.