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Hours before he was scheduled to deliver a public statement on the deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump on Monday called on lawmakers in both parties to pass legislation strengthening background checks for firearms purchases and suggested they tie it to immigration reform.
He also blamed the media.
“We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain,” Trump tweeted. “Likewise for those so seriously wounded. We can never forget them, and those many who came before them. Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”
“The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country,” the president added. “Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”
The president made a statement on the shootings from the White House on Monday morning.
On Saturday morning, a gunman killed 22 people and injured more than two dozen others at a Walmart in El Paso. Just 13 hours later, another gunman killed nine people and wounded dozens more in downtown Dayton. Officials have not conclusively determined the motives behind the attacks. The El Paso shooting is being investigated as a possible hate crime. An anti-immigrant “manifesto” has been connected to the alleged shooter.
The FBI said Sunday that the El Paso shooting “underscores the continued threat posed by domestic violent extremists and perpetrators of hate crimes.” The bureau added that the investigation is being supported by its “Domestic Terrorism-Hate Crimes Fusion Cell,” which was established earlier this year.
Critics say that Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric promotes racial division and violence.
Leaving his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J., before heading back to Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Trump said “a lot of things” are being done to address the scourge of mass shootings, but also suggested a “mental illness problem” is to blame.
“We’re talking to a lot of people and a lot of things are in the works,” Trump said Sunday when asked by a reporter what he was going to do about the country’s “gun problem.”
“We have done much more than most administrations,” the president said. “But perhaps more has to be done. But this is also a mental illness problem. If you look at both of these cases, this is mental illness. These are people that are very, very seriously mentally ill.”
Authorities have not announced any determination regarding the mental state of the two alleged gunmen.
Meanwhile, those calling for a ban on assault-style weapons like the ones used by the alleged shooters in El Paso and Dayton got an unusual endorsement from the New York Post, the tabloid owned by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
Dayton police said the shooter there used a rifle with a magazine capable of firing 100 rounds and 150 more rounds in a backpack.
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