Democratic presidential candidates react to Trump
WASHINGTON – On Monday, Democratic presidential contenders criticized President Donald Trump’s tweets and remarks addressing the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
The candidates were unified in calling for actions to prevent future mass shootings, and they criticized Trump for not announcing specific actions or policies. Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro called Trump’s remarks “hollow” and the president “morally bankrupt.”
Mass shootings over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton left at least 30 people dead, and police in El Paso said that they were investigating the shooting in that city as a potential hate crime. The shooter had left a “manifesto” filled with anti-immigrant and racist rhetoric, according to El Paso police.
On Monday, Trump delivered remarks denouncing white nationalism and vowing “urgent” action on mass shootings. Trump did not offer many specifics on specific actions or policies he would use to address mass shootings, though.
“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger,” Trump said. “Not the gun.”
More: Donald Trump slams white nationalism, vows to respond with ‘urgent resolve’ to El Paso, Dayton shootings
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., responded directly to Trump’s remarks, calling them a “dodge to avoid truth.”
Reacting to Trump’s tweets suggesting background check measures could be linked to immigration changes, former Vice President Joe Biden called in a tweet for an assault weapons ban and the expansion of background checks. The federal assault weapons ban expired in 2004, and background check legislation has stalled out in the Republican-controlled Senate.
READ TRUMP’S REMARKS: Read President Trump’s address to the nation following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton
“Immigration isn’t the problem. White nationalism is the problem,” Biden wrote. “America’s inaction on gun safety legislation is the problem.”
Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said that Trump was “weak. And wrong” about mental illness being the singular cause of mass shootings.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., noted that gun control legislation had made little progress in the face of Republican opposition in the Senate, shared a link to donate to Democratic Senate candidates.
“Republicans won’t act – because gun lobbyists are signing their checks. We must take back the Senate in 2020,” she wrote.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., listed the cities of three recent mass shootings and said, “let’s speak truth. Gun violence is a national emergency in our country.”
Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, first quipped about Trump’s mixup of cities during his remarks. Trump had inaccurately referred to “Toledo” as the site of the shooting, rather than “Dayton.” Ryan then began retweeting other candidates’ statements about Trump’s remarks and the shootings.