Many Sides Blame Tough Trump Rhetoric for Mass Shootings

Many Sides Blame Tough Trump Rhetoric for Mass Shootings


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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A variety of sources point at least some of the blame for this past weekend’s dual mass shootings at Donald Trump and the kind of hateful rhetoric Trump has become known for.

Separate incidents in El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio took the life of at least 30 people. The gunman in the El Paso attack posted online an anti-immigration screed which reportedly echoed the rhetoric used by Trump.

“I think the rhetoric that the president uses mimics white nationalist talking points frequently,” said Derek Black, in an interview with CNN, which identified Black as a former white nationalist. “What white nationalists are trying to do when they are looking for recruits or convince them they have a following and they are not so bad, those things are the same sort of sentiments that the president campaigned on and says from the White House today, that communities of color are more dangerous, which is untrue, that immigrants are committing crimes and are replacing us and are hurting America.

“These attacking, offensive language, there are consequences so saying things like this,” Black added. “There are consequences to trying to tap into that hateful passion that it’s disingenuous to say that a movement that is based on that, whether it’s as mainstream as some forms of conservatism or the white nationalist movement, these outreaches that tap into some of the oldest forms of white supremacy in America are going to have consequences. Words have consequences.”

Beto O’Rourke, the former El Paso-area Democratic congressman currently running for president, also pinned blame on Trump.

“We have a problem with white nationalist terrorism in the United States of America today. So I don’t want to confuse people about what is going on or use a hypothetical about what if this was somebody else from a different background or profile. These are white men motivated by the kind of fear that this president traffics in,” O’Rourke said. “The mosque in Victoria, Texas, was burned to the ground on the same day that President Trump signed his order attempting to ban Muslim travel to the United States of America when he says after Charlottesville that klansman and white supremacist and Neo-Nazis are very fine people, the commander in chief is sending a very public signal to the rest of the country about what is permissible and in fact even when he encourages to happen.

“So let’s connect the dots here on what is happening and why it is happening and who is responsible for this right now. And the fact that it will take all of us, Republicans, Democrats, independents alike, rising up, standing up to be counted against what this president is doing, against this white nationalist racism, against this violence and getting this country back,” O’Rourke added. “They are saying that our differences are, in fact, dangerous. If your a Muslim, you’re inherently dangerous. If you are a immigrant, you are inherently dangerous. If you are an asylum-seeker, you are invading this country or infestation, those words have very real consequences. You don’t get mass shootings like these and torch mosques or put kids in cages until you have a president who is given people permission to do that and that is exactly what is happening in the United States of America today.”

The president even took criticism during a panel discussion on the usually pro-Trump Fox News.

“Well, a hard question, and I do believe that the president — let’s put it this way, I don’t think he makes a lot of effort to cool the tensions that already exist,” said Charles Lane of The Washington Post. “We have seen over last week how he tried to sort of rub hard on that sore spot of race. He lacks language it seems when the horrible events arise to speak convincingly to the whole country as one, bring the country together. I would hesitate to blame him for any particular incident. Just one quick point on what can be done: I do think that there are — there is no one fix, but there are things that can be done in terms of limiting access to assault weapons, the high capacity magazines that can be done, you would think that people could get behind.”

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