White supremacy has no place in US: Trump
Donald Trump, with first lady Melania Trump, speaks to the media before boarding Air Force One in Morristown. AP
El Paso - Trump said he wants legislation providing “strong background checks” for gun users.
President Donald Trump on Monday condemned weekend shootings in Texas and Ohio as barbaric crimes “against all humanity” and called for bipartisan cooperation to respond to an epidemic of gun violence.
Trump said he wants legislation providing “strong background checks” for gun users, but he provided scant details and has reneged on previous promises after mass shootings.
“We vow to act with urgent resolve,” Trump said on Monday.
Trump spoke on Monday from the White House about shootings that left 29 dead and dozens wounded. He suggested early on Twitter that a background check bill could be paired with his long-sought effort to toughen the nation’s immigration system.
But he didn’t say how or why he was connecting the issues. Both shooting suspects were US citizens, and federal officials are investigating anti-immigrant bias as a potential motive for the El Paso, Texas, massacre.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and White supremacy,” Trump said, adding that he had directed the FBI to examine steps to identify and address domestic terrorism. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America,” he said.
Trump has frequently sought to tie his immigration priorities — a border wall and transforming the legal immigration system to one that prioritises merit over familial ties — to legislation around which he perceives momentum to be building.
Trump offered few specific solutions to address violence, and signaled he would oppose large-scale gun control efforts pushed by Democrats, saying, “hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”
Trump called for law enforcement and social media companies to do more to combat extremism and spot warning signs of violence online. He also called for a reduction in the “glorification” of violence in American culture, laws to make it easier to commit those with mental illness and “red flag laws” to separate such individuals from firearms.
Trump also directed the Department of Justice to seek and prioritize the enforcement of the death penalty in cases of hate crimes and mass shootings.
Over the weekend, 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.”
Congress has proven unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation this session, despite the frequency of mass shootings, in large part because of resistance from Republicans, particularly in the GOP-controlled Senate. That political dynamic seems difficult to change. And Trump himself has reneged on previous pledges to strengthen gun laws.
After other mass shootings he called for strengthening the federal background check system, and in 2018 he signed legislation to increase federal agency data sharing into the system. But he has resisted Democratic calls to toughen other gun control laws.