In his first formal remarks since the back-to-back mass shootings over the weekend, President Donald Trump called for all Americans to denounce white supremacist and racist ideologies.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Trump said from the White House while addressing the nation on Monday. “These sinister ideologies must be defeated.”
“Hate has no place in America,” he continued. “Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.”
The president’s remarks come on the heels of two deadly mass shootings that occurred only hours apart from one another. After a gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas shopping center shooting spree that took the lives of 21 individuals and injured more than two dozen others, a second attack murdered nine people and injured nearly 30 others at a Dayton, Ohio bar on early Sunday morning.
Prior to the shooting, the El Paso gunman allegedly posted a manifesto online announcing that the attack is a response to the “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” While he reportedly wrote that his views predated Trump’s leadership, Democratic lawmakers and the news media seized upon the opportunity to accuse the president of stoking racism and inciting violence.
Trump, however, issued multiple statements on the “unspeakable act of evil” that occurred and rebuked the manifesto as a viewpoint “consumed by racist hate.”
“We have asked the FBI to identify all further resources they need to investigate and disrupt hate crimes and domestic terrorism — whatever they need,” Trump said. “We must recognize that the internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize, disturb minds, and perform demented acts. We must shine light on the dark recesses of the internet and stop mass murders before they start.”
“The internet is likewise used for human trafficking, illegal drug distribution, and so many other heinous crimes,” he continued. “The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored and they will not be ignored.”
The president also urged for a reform of America’s mental health laws, which he contended would better identify the “mentally disturbed individuals” who may commit future acts of violence. He called to treat these mentally ill individuals prior to any violent incident occurs.
“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Trump said before proposing the enactment of so-called “red-flag laws,” whereby firearms can be removed from mentally ill individuals through “rapid due process.”
“The first lady and I join all Americans in praying and grieving for the victims, their families, and the survivors,” the president said. “We will stand by their side forever. We will never forget.”
“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation, and a crime against all of humanity,” he continued. “We are outraged and sickened by this monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror.”