Trump visits mass shooting victims; protesters shout, 'Do something!'

Elias Hubbard
August 8, 2019

Media caption " Mental illness pulls the trigger, not guns" - Trump's five solutions to combat mass shootings.

United States President Donald Trump met victims and first responders from last weekend's deadly shootings in Texas and OH on Wednesday (Aug 7), and chanting protesters accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.

Dayton's emotions are still raw in the aftermath of the early-morning shooting rampage that left 10 dead, including the gunman, in the city's popular OR entertainment district.

President Trump spoke out on racism and hatred following the shootings but has been accused of stoking the same sentiments he sought to condemn.

Mr Trump told them he was "with them", she said. "I refuse to be an accessory to his visit", Escobar later told CNN.

"I will again be spending time with fellow El Pasoans who are dealing with the pain and horror left in the wake of this act of domestic terrorism fueled by hate and racism", she said.

Investigators believe the suspected El Paso shooter had posted a racist screed online prior to the gun attack. "He only said that we will get things done", Brown said, adding the president had been "comforting" to the victims.

It admonished Mr Trump for calling El Paso one of the country's most unsafe cities in his February State of the Union address.

The controversy surfaced after Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, published the names of donors to President Trump in an apparent attempt to intimidate them.

Both he and Ms Escobar have said they will attend a community event meant to honour those who died and "confront President Trump and white supremacy".

Critics have said Mr Trump's rhetoric has contributed to a fractured political climate that has spawned violence, which they said contributed to the other mass shooting in the Texan border town of El Paso, where another shooter killed 22 people over the weekend.

An open letter to Trump on Wednesday the editor of the El Paso Times, Tim Archuleta, described the border city as having "a deep tradition of racial harmony" whose people came together after the tragedy.

He could also face protests on his first stop in Dayton.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown of OH, both Democrats, accompanied Trump in Dayton and told reporters they urged him to call on Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back from its summer recess to work on a House-passed bill that expands background checks on gun buyers.

How has he responded to the shootings?

Asked on MSNBC on Wednesday if Trump is a white supremacist, O'Rourke said: "He is". "Hate has no place in America".

He called for mental health gun control reforms, the death penalty for those who commit mass murder and more bi-partisan co-operation over gun laws.

But the address drew criticism for not saying enough on gun control.

Rep. Veronica Escobar of El Paso has said that she turned down an invitation from the White House to accompany Trump during his visit to the city, writing on Facebook and Twitter on Tuesday that she plans to spend the day with El Pasoans.

Trump did not visit the entertainment district in Dayton where the shooting took place, boarding Air Force One after spending under two hours speaking with first responders and victims in Dayton.

What happened in the two attacks?

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People embrace while holding placards during a rally against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump after last weekend's shooting at a Walmart store, in El Paso, Texas, U.S., August 7, 2019.

Police killed the gunman, 24-year-old Connor Betts, within 30 seconds of him opening fire but that was long enough for him to kill nine people.

Among the dead was Betts' sister, Megan.

Frantic scenes were earlier captured in New York's Times Square after the noise of a motorcycle backfiring caused a crowd to panic, revealing a heightened sense of fear in the wake of mass shootings in two United States cities.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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