President Donald Trump called for background checks to be tied to immigration reform, a move that would likely doom both efforts in the hyper-partisan Congress.
“We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. 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,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”
The president’s proposal did not go over well.
“But there’s no indication that background checks would have necessarily prevented the El Paso and Dayton shooters from obtaining the high-powered weapons they used to carry out their attacks, as neither of them had substantial criminal records. (There were some major red flags in the case of the Dayton shooter, however, including that he once caused a school lockdown by writing a hit list on a bathroom wall.)” Vox reported. “And by trying to use the El Paso shooting — which, according to the shooter’s manifesto, was motived by ‘invasion’ conspiracy theories about immigrants that Trump himself has pushed — as leverage for immigration legislation, the president is giving credence to the shooter’s cause.”
Dems say Trump’s proposal is an ‘absolute freaking joke’:
"That's a joke. That's an absolute freaking joke that he's going to tie this to the most polarizing issue happening in the United States around immigration reform. This is very clear-cut here. There are people that are getting access to guns that shouldn't be, and the guns are high-powered. The magazines hold too many bullets," Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, told CNN.
“Mitch McConnell needs to get off his ass and do something. People are getting killed in the streets in America and nobody is acting. Nobody. There's a bottleneck in the United States Senate. The House has sent a comprehensive background check bill supported that's by 80 to 90% of the American people. What the hell are we doing in the United States of America?" Ryan said.
Fellow 2020 candidate Kirsten Gillibrand called Trump’s proposal “absurd.”
"He's linking the issue of basic, common-sense gun reform, that we should be going back into the Senate today to vote on, with this issue of immigration because again he continues to try to demonize people seeking asylum, people needing our help," Gillibrand said.
Trump’s rhetoric blamed for El Paso shooting:
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke was asked if there was anything Trump could do to make things better after the mass shootings while he was in his hometown of El Paso.
"What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying,” O’Rourke said. “He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the fuck? ... I mean, connect the dots about what he's been doing in this country."
In an interview with CNN, O’Rourke called Trump a white nationalist.
“The things that he has said, both as a candidate and then as the president of the United States, this cannot be open for debate,” O’Rourke said. “You, as well as I, have a responsibility to call that out, to make sure that the American people understand what is being done in their name by the person who holds the highest position of public trust in this land. He does not even pretend to respect our differences or to understand that we are all created equal.”
“He is saying that some people are inherently defective or dangerous — reminiscent of something that you might hear in the Third Reich, not something that you expect in the United States of America — based on their religion, based on their sexual orientation, based on their immigration status, based on the countries that they come from,” he added. “Calling those in Africa shithole nations and saying that he'd like to have more immigration from Nordic countries, the whitest place on planet Earth today. So again, let's be very clear about what is causing this and who the president is. He is an open avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country."