The presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has responded to reports that the gunman who committed a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, supported Sanders by denying any responsibility — but suggesting that President Donald Trump bears responsibility for the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, the day before.
Breitbart News reported Sunday evening that a Twitter account linked to the Dayton, Ohio, shooter had been taken down, and included support for socialism and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The Dayton Daily News reported Monday evening that the shooter had left-leaning political opinions and supported gun control. CNN reported Monday evening that the Twitter account had supported Sanders and it had expressed “extreme” left-wing views.
In a statement released Tuesday evening, veteran Sanders campaign aide Jeff Weaver said:
Anyone who thinks that political change should come from the barrel of a gun is anathema to what Bernie has advocated for decades — non-violent mass political action. Senator Sanders and our entire campaign are repulsed by the despicable massacres we have witnessed. We asked Donald Trump to condemn white nationalism and anti immigrant [sic] demonization. We are not holding our breath.
NEW: The @BernieSanders campaign has responded to questions surrounding the political leanings of the shooter in the Dayton, OH massacre. In social media posts the shooter indicated a level of support for Sanders & Warren.
FULL Statement from Senior Adviser Jeff Weaver: pic.twitter.com/2ywEBXhgfA
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) August 7, 2019
President Trump’s statement on Monday from the White House in fact included an explicit denunciation of white supremacy: ” In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”
In August 2017, after the Charlottesville riots, President Trump made a similar statement: “Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”
He has been critical of illegal aliens, but not immigrants in general.
There is no evidence to suggest that Trump inspired the El Paso shooter in any way. In a manifesto posted online that is widely attributed to the shooter, he stated: “My ideology has not changed for several years. My opinions … predate Trump and his campaign for president.”
Weaver nonetheless implies Trump is somehow responsible.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.