Trump suggests linking gun control to immigration laws
WASHINGTON – After two mass shootings over the weekend, President Donald Trump suggested Monday that Congress link immigration laws to new legislation requiring stronger background checks for gun buyers.
“Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying his legislation with desperately needed immigration reform,” Trump tweeted in response to the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
He did not provide details on possible legislation regarding gun control, background checks, or immigration.
Democrats have objected to past Trump immigration proposals – especially his call for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border – and said his harsh rhetoric about some migrants are contributing to a climate of hate. They ridiculed the notion of tying gun control to illegal immigration, especially in a case where one of the shooters listed illegal immigration as a motive.
“What’s the connection between background checks for guns and immigration reform?” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaking on MSNBC. “That we have to keep guns out of the hands out of the invading hordes?”
Trump tweeted hours before he is scheduled to give a 10 a.m. speech at the White House on the weekend killings.
“We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain,” said Trump, who may visit those cities later this week. “Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them.”
He added: “We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”
The president’s critics noted that the El Paso shooter reportedly wrote a “manifesto” that expressed concern about an “invasion” of the United States by Hispanics, using language similar to that of Trump.
They accused Trump of helping create an environment of violence, from denouncing some migrants as murderers and rapists to saying there were “very fine people” on both sides of a 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
“In May, Trump said we are being ‘invaded’ by immigrants,” tweeted Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., “The El Paso shooter said he wanted to stop the ‘invasion.'”
McGovern also cited an incident from a rally in Florida: “Trump asked his rally crowd: ‘How do you stop these people’ from crossing the border? ‘Shoot them!’ Someone screamed. He laughed. Then the crowd laughed.”
Trump, who has not addressed the El Paso killer’s manifesto, blamed the news media for the negative environment.
In another early morning tweet, Trump claimed that “Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.”
Trump is expected to visit the sites of the shootings later this week. The Associated Press reported that the Federal Aviation Administration has issued advisories of VIP travel to El Paso and Dayton on Wednesday.
Supporters of the president said Trump faces an important moment in addressing the shootings.
Anthony Scaramucci, the former White House communications director, told CNN that Trump is at risk of losing supporters who like his policies, but fear the divisive rhetoric is overwhelming his presidency.
“There’s not even a question about that,” he said.