Trump just shamelessly tried to make the latest mass shootings about immigration

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The nation is reeling after two mass shootings — one in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio — claimed the lives of more innocent Americans over the weekend. These tragedies have become a horrific fixture of life in the United States with seemingly no end in sight.  At times like this, the country should be able to look to its president for strength and leadership, but the current occupant of the Oval Office makes that impossible.

Donald Trump is a man who seems pathologically incapable of empathy and what’s more, he has a vested interest in downplaying events like these in service to his ruthless NRA donors. Instead of discussing reasonable gun laws, the most obvious way to curb the rise of mass shootings, he can be expected to speak in empty platitudes and generalities.

This morning, Trump took to Twitter to address the shootings, saying the victims cannot be allowed to “die in vain.” He proceeded on to some general sentiments that were presumably written for him by someone with a least slightly better understanding of human emotions, saying we will “never forget” the victims or those who died in previous shootings.

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The president then called for Republicans and Democrats to “come together and get strong background checks,” which is a sick joke considering the fact that Republicans are the ones who have repeatedly blocked any kind of common-sense gun regulation proposed by Democrats. They refuse to even consider new laws, so eager are they to pander to the gun manufacturers, right-wing gun lovers, and the National Rifle Association.

Trump suggested that such background check legislation could be married to “desperately need immigration reform,” bluntly inserting his favorite xenophobic talking point where it does not belong. These shootings were not carried out by immigrants, documented or otherwise, and for Trump to even obliquely imply as much is rephrensible.

The El Paso shooter was explicitly a white supremacist who could face hate crime and domestic terrorism charges. He’s not an immigrant, he hates immigrants. We have a president who calls Hispanic immigrants an “invasion” and when a bigot armed with a weapon of war targets those same immigrants the president still implies it’s immigrants we have to fear.

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Right-wing extremism is the real threat that needs to be addressed, but the president is unwilling to take on this dangerous ideology because so many of his supporters ascribe to it. This is a dark day in America, and the only way to ensure we rise up out of it is to hold Trump and his blood-drenched cronies accountable at the ballot box.

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Natalie Dickinson

Natalie is a staff writer for the Washington Press. She graduated from Oberlin College in 2010 and has been freelance blogging and writing for progressive outlets ever since.

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