Thoughts, prayers & political agenda: Response to El Paso shooting on left & right
A majority of high-profile politicians have relayed their condolences to the victims of the shooting rampage, refraining from pinning the blame on US President Donald Trump or his administration directly, like some did in the wake of the New Zealand mosque massacre in March, when they accused the US leader of inciting anti-Muslim violence with his rhetoric.
Instead, an array of Democratic presidential candidates, including frontrunner Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), Rep. Kamala Harris (D-Ca) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) used the occasion to drum up support for tougher gun control, while scolding Republicans for inaction.
Everyone in America, myself included, is devastated by the news of this latest attack in El Paso. Sadly, after each of these tragedies the Senate does nothing. That has got to change.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 3, 2019
Heartbroken to hear the news from El Paso. Our thoughts are with those impacted by yet another senseless act of gun violence in America.How many lives must be cut short? How many communities must be torn apart? It’s past time we take action and end our gun violence epidemic.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 3, 2019
Several Democratic candidates still attempted to drag Trump into the picture. Speaking at the AFSCME Public Service Forum in Las Vegas, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who has just qualified for the next Democratic debate in September, fell short of blaming Trump but got as close to it as it gets.
She brought up the story of a Somali-American girl who was told to go back “where she came from” by an alleged Trump supporter, before saying “this hate is fueling a lot of these shootings and it is fueling a lot of other crimes.”
Others took on white nationalism, which is being investigated as a possible reason for the shooting. Another Democratic hopeful, Pete Buttigieg, said one of the reasons was “domestic terrorism, almost all of which is inspired by white nationalism,” which is in turn the Trump administration's fault.
Our country is under attack from white nationalist terrorism, inspiring murder on our soil and abetted by weak gun laws. If we are serious about national security, we must summon the courage to name and defeat this evil.— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) August 3, 2019
“A lot of this is... whether we allow people to be pitted against each other by maneuvers like the peak white identity politics being practiced out of this White House,” he said.
Many lower-profile progressives were even less discreet in their choice of words, squarely blaming Trump for instigating violence with his “racist border propaganda.”
This is the El Paso shooter. Patrick Crusius, a 21 year-old white male Trump supporter whose manifesto says he committed mass murder in “response to [the] Hispanic invasion of Texas.”This is white supremacist terror. It's part of a pattern.And Trump is complicit. pic.twitter.com/PO4O4las3h— Kai Newkirk (@kai_newkirk) August 3, 2019
They were joined by several outspoken Hollywood celebrities. Actor John Leguizamo argued that Trump’s rhetoric was “triggering all this violence” against the Latino community.
Another mass shooting. Another White Nationalist. There are not “fine people on both sides”. The President of the United States bears responsibility.— Rob Reiner (@robreiner) August 3, 2019
Republicans, led by Trump, have limited their response to the incident to mostly good wishes and prayers.
....Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the great people of Texas.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 4, 2019
My heart is with everyone in El Paso struck by this unspeakable evil. Heidi & I are praying for the victims & their families & are grateful for the first responders, local authorities & law enforcement working tirelessly to bring the perpetrator of this depraved act to justice.— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) August 3, 2019
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), however, turned his attention to the issue of mental health, often invoked by conservatives during mass shootings.
The shooting took place on Saturday afternoon at a Walmart in El Paso on the US-Mexican border. A total of 20 people were killed in the attack, and a further 26 were injured. It has been reported that the gunman left an hate-filled manifesto, inspired by the one written by the New Zealand mosque attacker, but targeting Hispanics.
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