“I will not be there with him. I don’t have any interest because of what he’s done on this, total unwillingness to address the issue of guns, his racist rhetoric,” Brown told Sirius XM host Joe Madison. “I don’t know what he’s going to say and do there. I mean, I welcome him to the state in some sense, but not about this.”
The president is slated to visit Dayton after a shooter armed with a legally obtained rifle murdered at least nine people in the city early Sunday morning, a day after another legally armed gunman — who allegedly posted a manifesto indicating his attack was motivated by racism against Hispanics — took at least 22 lives in El Paso, Texas.
Brown highlighted his constituents’ desire for politicians to take concrete action in response to the shootings, noting that people interrupted Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s speech at a vigil on Sunday with chants imploring the Republican to “do something.”
“Our governor and our legislature in Ohio and our Senate in Washington and our president in Washington have, by and large, been in the pockets of the NRA and they haven’t done anything on gun safety,” Brown said.
In response to the weekend’s mass shootings, Trump avoided blaming guns. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger — not the gun,” he said. While Trump bemoaned bigotry, hatred and divisiveness, he offered no self-reflection for his own role in fanning the flames of racism and xenophobia.
Brown said that ideally, Trump would go further in his Dayton visit.
“I don’t know what the president’s doing there. I hope he apologizes for his racist rhetoric and his divisive tones,” he said.
“The best thing [Trump] could do right now — he doesn’t have to do it from Dayton or El Paso — he could right now say, ‘Senator McConnell, bring them back into session. We want to pass the background checks bill,’” Brown added.
The senator joins other Texas and Ohio politicians who aren’t all that interested in a Trump visit in the wake of the shootings.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D) said on Tuesday that if people are unhappy with Trump’s visit to the city, they “should stand up and say they’re not happy,” according to The Washington Post. She added that she was “disappointed with [Trump’s] remarks” and stressed his insufficient references to “gun issues.”
“I don’t know if he knows what he believes, frankly,” Whaley said.
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D), whose district includes most of El Paso, declared that Trump “is not welcome here” on MSNBC Monday morning.
“Words have consequences, and the president has made my community and my people the enemy,” Escobar said.
Presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) also criticized Trump’s role in fostering xenophobic sentiment. “He’s helped to produce the suffering that we are experiencing right now. This community needs to heal,” he told the El Paso Times. O’Rourke told ABC News on Sunday that Trump “is a racist, and he stokes racism in this country.”
And while El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) said on Monday he would welcome the president, he added: “I will continue to challenge any harmful and inaccurate statements about El Paso.”