About 100 protesters gathered across the street from the White House on Tuesday to accuse President Donald Trump of inciting the deadly shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio that killed 31 people and to condemn Trump and his supporters for “deputizing white supremacists to commit horrific violence.”
“Hey, hey, ho ho, white supremacy has got to go,” and “shut down hate” chants opened the protest.
Vanita Gupta, who served in Obama’s Department of Justice in its civil rights division and is now president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and a regular at anti-Trump protests, criticized the president’s statement about the shootings on Monday.
‘Yesterday Trump said that hate has no home here,” Gupta said. “But we know the truth.”
“Hate has too many homes here in this country and under this president hate’s primary residence is right here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” Gupta said.
She said Trump “openly incites violence against immigrants, people of color, and religious minorities and other marginalized communities.”
“The president has blood on his hands and no scripted press conference is going to be able to wipe that clean,” Gupta said.
Gupta said Trump and his “enablers” are “deputizing white supremacists to commit horrific violence.”
Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, an organization responsible for millions of abortions in the United States, spoke about the right to “lead healthy lives.”
McGill Johnson said “gun violence” is “threatening the health and safety of our communities and the bigotry and white supremacy that is increasingly behind it.”
“All people deserve to lead healthy lives and feel safe in their homes, in their schools, in their places of worship, in their health centers, in their communities,” McGill Johnson said.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” McGill Johnson said. “Racism is a public health crisis and white supremacy is a public health crisis.”
“We have seen immigrant communities and communities of color become the target of vicious violence over and over again,” McGill Johnson said. “We know that anti-immigrant sentiment incited by the president of the United States is to blame.”
Trump has “opened the floodgates to hatred and violence,” she said.
We’ve had it with white supremacy and gun violence. We rallied today, alongside other great orgs, to stand against a racist President w/ blood on his hands. We’re here to fight for y’all, and we’re gonna continue fighting each and every day #SomosElPaso #WhiteSupremacyKills pic.twitter.com/Wum877hQMz
— Voto Latino (@votolatino) August 6, 2019
María Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino, led the rally.
“We’ve heard the dog whistle turn into action and we will not tolerate this,” Kumar said.
When she introduced a representative from United We Dream, the organization founded and run by young immigrants who are in the United States illegally and their allies, Kumar praised them.
“It’s through the leadership of these young, brave individuals — when people say democracy doesn’t matter — these are the ones that cannot vote,” Kumar said.
“They were hiding in the shadows and they came front and center and said, ‘This is my country,’” Kumar said. “And they have learned how to navigate the systems of power to make sure that we not only have their back but that we let them lead.”
“I represent immigrant youth and their families from all across this country,” the woman said. “And the times that we are living in are absolutely terrifying.”
“After the El Paso massacre, there were immigrants who were too afraid to get medical attention because of fear of having ICE called on them,” the woman claimed. “We have seen and lived and witnessed the cases of individuals being attacked and dragged out of hospitals by ICE and border patrol.”
“We send our love and support to these families who are living unbearable pain right now — not only in El Paso but across the country in cities, in rural communities … that have been targeted by raids, by attacks and the disappearances of our community members,” the woman said.
“Our government has emboldened and empowered ICE and border patrol to detain, to deport, and to kill,” the woman said and added that the government also “emboldened” the shooter in El Paso.
Kris Brown, president of the Brady Campaign, used statistics that are popular with gun control advocates that paint gun deaths with a broad brush. She also blamed Trump.
“It is about the hate and hateful rhetoric emanating from the White House,” Brown said. “It is also about our lax gun laws. We are arming hate in this country.”
Calling it a “gun epidemic” Brown said 100 people a day are “dying in the streets of America.”
“That’s the equivalent of a regional jet falling from the sky every single day,”
“We have an undeclared war on American soil,” Brown said. “We have lost more Americans to gun violence since 1970 than we have lost in all of America’s wars combined.”
The leftwing groups that took part include Voto Latino, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, MoveOn, Labor Council For Latin American Advancement, United We Dream, Service Employees International Union, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, American Federation of Teachers, Muslim Advocates, March for Our Lives, Human Rights Campaign and the Interfaith Alliance.
“The groups will demand that Donald Trump cease his racist, violence-inducing attacks on the Latinos, immigrants, and communities of color, and urge the Senate to pass H.R. 8, a Bipartisan Background Checks Act already passed by the House,” the announcement for the protest said.
The protesters barely discussed the shooting in Dayton, Ohio where nine people died. The shooter in that mass murder has been linked to leftist ideas and Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who is running for the 2020 Democrat presidential nomination.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter