President Trump on Monday morning hit the most common Republican talking points following a deadly weekend of mass shootings across that U.S. that left nearly 30 people dead.
For what appears to be the first time, Trump acknowledged mass shootings as a “plague” in American, but he pointed to mental illness reform, violent video game bans and red flag laws as possible reactions to mass gun violence, taking pains to subtly avoid hitting the Second Amendment and gun supporters.
“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,” he said. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.”
Trump: Mental illness pulls the trigger, not the gun pic.twitter.com/eaDPYfRjia
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) August 5, 2019
Trump also notably condemned white supremacy and offered condolences to Mexico for the death of its citizens who were killed in the shooting in El Paso, Texas over the weekend.
“The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” he said. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.”
The President said he has directed the FBI to work alongside social media companies to better identify and intercept dangerous, radicalized individuals before they can act or get access to guns. Trump also announced that he’s asked the Justice Department to help craft legislation that would ensure the death penalty for those convicted of hate crimes or mass murders.
While he didn’t mention it in his public statement, Trump earlier on Monday opened up the door to an embrace of comprehensive background checks along with immigration reform legislation, should Congress be able to develop a bipartisan solution.
Trump’s already been hit online for mistakenly identifying the location of one of the shootings as Toledo, before he corrected himself.
“It is not up to mentally ill monsters, it’s up to us. If we are able to pass great legislation after all of these years, we will ensure that those who were attacked will not have died in vain,” he said. “May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo and may God protect them. May God protect all of those from Texas to Ohio, may God bless the victims and their families, may God bless America.”
Combined, nearly 30 people were killed in the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend. While the motive for the Ohio shooting is still unclear, investigators are considering probing the El Paso shooting as a hate crime given the anti-immigrant screed the shooter allegedly posted online prior to the attack.