Democrat presidential candidates reacted to President Trump’s Monday morning remarks about the deadly shootings that took place over the weekend, condemning him despite the fact that he forcefully denounced white supremacy.
Trump addressed the nation Monday morning and condemned the “monstrous evil, the cruelty, the hatred, the malice, the bloodshed, and the terror” that occurred over the weekend after a gunman in El Paso, Texas, murdered 22 and a shooter in Dayton, Ohio, murdered 9. Between both tragedies, several dozen were injured.
Trump unequivocally condemned white supremacy and “racist hate” and signaled support for “red flag” laws, which would allow relatives to petition court-ordered seizures of the family member in question, as Breitbart News reported.
“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said, adding, “These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America”:
Trump: "In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America." https://t.co/sZSr7MUWHR pic.twitter.com/bXL3WKeRYR
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 5, 2019
New Jersey senator and Democrat presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ) had a different interpretation of Trump’s remarks, telling his four million Twitter followers that the president categorized white supremacy as a “mental illness.”
“The president is weak. And wrong,” Booker wrote. “White supremacy is not a mental illness, and guns are a tool that white supremacists use to fulfill their hate”:
The president is weak. And wrong.
White supremacy is not a mental illness, and guns are a tool that white supremacists use to fulfill their hate.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 5, 2019
Trump did not call white supremacy a “mental illness” during his remarks. He spoke of the importance of mental health-based reforms moving forward, but he specifically condemned white supremacy, bigotry, and racism, calling them “sinister ideologies” – not mental illnesses.
Booker’s campaign manager took it a step further and posted an image of Booker’s initial response to Trump’s remarks.
“Listening to the president. Such a bullshit soup of ineffective words. This is so weak. We should quickly condemn his lack of a real plan,” Addisu Demissie posted with the words “I will let the boss speak for himself”:
I will let the boss speak for himself. pic.twitter.com/J3dtnopaCo
— Addisu Demissie (@ASDem) August 5, 2019
Booker’s fellow 2020 candidates followed suit, condemning Trump after he denounced white supremacy and attacking him for urging lawmakers to address mental health issues.
“‘Mental illness & hate pulls trigger, not the gun’ is President’s dodge to avoid truth,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) tweeted in part:
“Mental illness & hate pulls trigger, not the gun” is President’s dodge to avoid truth: there’s mental illness&hate throughout world, but U.S. stands alone w/high rate of gun violence. When someone can kill 9 people in a minute, that gun should never have been sold. Action!
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) August 5, 2019
Joe Biden (D) echoed Klobuchar’s sentiment, tweeting, “Mr. President, immigration isn’t the problem. White nationalism is the problem. America’s inaction on gun safety legislation is the problem”:
Mr. President, immigration isn’t the problem. White nationalism is the problem. America’s inaction on gun safety legislation is the problem.
It’s time to put the politics aside and pass universal background checks and an assault weapons ban. Lives depend on it. https://t.co/zGFDUZyihw
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 5, 2019
Julián Castro (D) took it a step further, accusing Trump of continuing to be a “national spokesperson” for racists and white nationalists:
Donald Trump is unfit to lead our nation. His words could not be more hollow.⁰⁰He says “we must condemn racism, bigotry and white nationalism”—but often serves as their national spokesperson.⁰⁰In this national emergency, our president is morally bankrupt. We deserve better. https://t.co/wr9rNwYpzg
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) August 5, 2019
"White supremacy is not a mental illness, and guns are a tool that white supremacists use to fulfill their hate." https://t.co/WU0iVlFavC
— Tim Ryan (@TimRyan) August 5, 2019
We have been. Now it’s your turn. https://t.co/03XddY8tVj
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) August 5, 2019
I agree. We should start by getting you and your white nationalism out of the White House. https://t.co/11PclqFhfA
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) August 5, 2019
El Paso, Texas.
Let’s speak truth: Gun violence is a national emergency in our country.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 5, 2019
Trump is too busy blaming the “fake news media” and people with mental illness to speak the truth: we’re facing an epidemic caused by white supremacy and easy access to military-grade weapons.
The truth is plain as day. Open your eyes and grow a damn spine, @realDonaldTrump.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) August 5, 2019