The president blamed white supremacy, the internet, video games and mental illness for the massacres. He did not blame guns or himself.
Trump called the attacks “evil” and “barbaric” and denounced the shooters as “wicked.”
“We vow to act with urgent resolve,” he said.
Trump mentioned the alleged El Paso’s shooter’s reported manifesto, which the president said was “consumed by racist hate.” He then called on the nation to condemn racism and white supremacy, while not acknowledging his role in promoting those ideas.
Trump directed social media companies “to develop tools to identify mass shooters before they strike.”
“The perils of the internet and social media cannot be ignored, and will not be ignored,” said Trump, who regularly promotes hate speech on his Twitter feed.
He also blamed the shootings on “a culture that glorifies violence,” and on mental health. “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger ― not the gun,” he said.
Reading his remarks from a teleprompter, Trump mistakenly named Toledo instead of Dayton as the location of Saturday night’s shooting.
The president’s remarks followed a barrage of criticism by lawmakers, celebrities and others who lambasted the president over the weekend for his tepid response to the two attacks. Trump was also roundly censured for promoting racism and violence with his inflammatory rhetoric.
When asked point-blank if Trump bore responsibility for the El Paso massacre, former Texas congressman and 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke was unequivocal in his response on Saturday: “Yes,” the El Paso native said.
The suspected assailant in that shooting is believed to have posted a white supremacist manifesto on the extremist forum 8chan shortly before opening fire at a busy Walmart.
In the document, the suspect referred to Hispanic people as “invaders” and used the phrase “send them back” ― reminiscent of a sentiment promoted by Trump last month in his attacks against four congresswomen of color, one of whom was an asylum seeker from Somalia.
On Sunday, the president condemned the violence in Texas and Ohio, saying “hate has no place in our country.” However, he did not explicitly mention white supremacy ― and instead spoke vaguely of a “mental illness problem” in the country.
In the document, the suspect referred to Hispanic people as ‘invaders’ and used the phrase ‘send them back’ ― reminiscent of a sentiment promoted by Trump last month in his attacks against four congresswomen of color, one of whom was an asylum seeker from Somalia.
“This is also a mental illness problem if you look at both of these cases, this is mental illness,” Trump told reporters. “These are people that are very, very seriously mentally ill. So a lot of things are happening. A lot of things are happening right now.”
Trump was criticized by several Democrats, including presidential candidates O’Rourke and Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), for fueling violence and bigotry in the U.S. with his xenophobic rhetoric.
“I think at the end of the day, especially because this was the white supremacist manifesto … that Donald Trump is responsible for this,” Booker told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, speaking about the El Paso shooting. “He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry. He is responsible because he’s failing to condemn white supremacy and see it as it is, which is responsible for such a significant amount of the terrorist attacks.”
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.