After the massacres in California, El Paso and Dayton, Trump read from a teleprompter about how to solve the problems we face in this country from mass shootings. He blamed video games and people with mental health problems but not guns and his own racist rhetoric. “Mental illness and hate pull the trigger not the gun,” he said. That is always the go-to line of the NRA after a mass shooting in this country.
Mental illness occurs around the world in comparable numbers in other countries. But only our country has mass shootings. Video games are played by young men in other countries and they don’t lead to mass shootings. Earlier he had blamed the media.
In his teleprompter speech he gave lip service to background checks, red flag laws and he read off the teleprompter that racism, bigotry and white supremacy were not okay. Sure. Let’s see how many days it takes before he backtracks on that one and starts talking about the “invasion” and “infestation” again. Because that is how he plans to get re-elected. Trump needs to dig deep to get every single white supremacist out there to vote for him if he hopes to get a second term because he has insulted, horrified and offended almost everyone else in America.
The massacre in El Paso was carried out by a white supremacist whose online screed in key places matched up word for word with the language of this president in rally after rally. People who watch Fox News and only Fox are getting spoon fed a daily dose of those same dog whistle words from their favorite Fox hosts- Hannity, Ingraham and others. Tucker Carlson just told his viewers that the problem of white supremacy “is a hoax”. That is a flat out lie.
Media Matters for America has been tracking the use of the words like “infestation” and “invasion” on Fox, which are known white supremacist dog whistles. Media Matters had documented that those words have been used over a hundred and twenty-five times on Fox News recently. Those Fox hosts are using the same words the shooter used in his screed and jacking up the same fears. They are trying to scare Americans get them to vote for Trump in 2020 as their protector against a flood of brown people just as Trump tried to do in the run up to the 2018 midterms with his fear mongering about caravans. https://www.mediamatters.org/fox-news/angelo-carusone-notes-there-line-between-white-supremacists-and-trump-and-line-goes-right
This is all about the fear of a “great replacement” an “invasion of Hispanics”, a profound fear about the shift in the demographics of our country from white majority to multiracial. Certain Fox hosts and this president sound a lot like Hitler and others racist leaders who advocate ethnic cleansing and racial purity.
This is profoundly un-American. Our country is about being a place for everyone who comes here legally and is willing to work hard and contribute – and, yes, seeking asylum IS a legal way to come here under our laws and international law. Joe Biden spoke out today and he is absolutely right that the soul of our country is on the line with this racist president. Biden delivered a terrific speech today in which he said Trump had more in common with George Wallace than George Washington. Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker also spoke out. We saw leadership. Finally! We need leaders to help our country out of the moral morass of this presidency.
There are some other bright spots of hope emerging from this horror. In Dayton, a bipartisan crowd on the street listening to the Ohio governor speak, spontaneously called out for the governor to “Do Something! Do Something!” over and over again. Their chant was inspirational. Governor DeWine may have finally heard that. He seems inclined to do something now in terms of gun control legislation. Let’s see if his Republican administration can actually follow through. Although DeWine has not come out against assault weapons.
One of the Ohio Republican Representatives in the House with a 90% approval rating from the NRA, broke with the NRA and is calling for stricter gun laws and did come out against assault weapons. Why? Because his own daughter was across the street at the time of the mass shooting and could have been killed.
Trump went to El Paso with an unconvincing teleprompter message of unity and love. In El Paso over 1,000 people had signed a request for Trump to stay away. Beto O’Rourke, a native of El Paso running for president, said Trump should cancel this trip. (As a result, Trump attacked O’Rourke on Twitter, making fun of his name.) Rep. Veronica Escobar who represents the district that includes El Paso, publicly said Trump was not welcome in El Paso until he apologizes for his racist rhetoric. He has not done that. Trump still owes El Paso over $500,000.00 for the rally he held there in which he used racist language to jack up the crowd against Hispanics. True to form Trump has failed to pay the city for the services they provided for his safety during that rally while he was inciting the crowd against brown people.
Earlier in the day Trump had gone to Dayton, Ohio (which he erroneously called Toledo during his teleprompter talk because he really has no idea what the heck is going on or where it is happening.) After a sheltered visit there in which he did not expose himself to any situations that might have been bad PR for him, he got on his plane and immediately attacked Democrats on Twitter: the Mayor of Dayton, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Joe Biden. He couldn’t even restrain himself long enough to get through his plane ride before he was on the attack.
Trump may not have lit the match that caused the original conflagration of white supremacy in this country, but he most certainly poured gasoline on the fire with his tweets and with his rhetoric at rallies. By using racist language and white supremacist dog whistles he has made himself personally responsible for the size and explosiveness of this conflagration.
One of the brightest spots of hope that is emerging from his disasterous presidency is that Trump is not only igniting white nationalists, he is inspiring American voters to vote him out of office in 2020: suburban women and men who were formerly Republican, people of color, minorities, and even the wives of many blue collar men (reported in a recent Pew poll as breaking away after he attacked the four women of color in the House) as well as other Americans.
Trump! You are not welcome here. This is America. We are better than this!