WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump condemned white supremacism and other forms of hatred on Monday in the wake of the mass shooting over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, that apparently targeted Hispanics.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said during an appearance at the White House following the massacres over the weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead.
The president noted that the El Paso gunman, who opened fire at a Walmart in the Texas border city, had allegedly posted an anti-immigrant manifesto online before attacking the store.
“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack upon our nation and a crime against all of humanity,” Trump said.
The president referred to the possible role that mental illness plays in mass shootings, saying that “mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”
Authorities should work to ensure that individuals “judged a grave risk to public safety do not have access to firearms,” Trump said.
The president spoke about the role that video games play in promoting a culture of violence.
“We must stop the glorification of violence in our society,” Trump said. “This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace.”
“It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately,” Trump said.
The president also said that authors of mass shootings should be given the death penalty.
Trump said he would ask the Department of Justice “to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively and without years of needless delay.”
Connor Betts, the gunman who carried out the mass shooting in Dayton, was killed by police as soon as they arrived on the scene in the popular Oregon District.
Authorities in Dayton are still investigating the shooting, but one of the people killed near Ned Peppers Bar early Sunday was the gunman’s sister, police said.
Megan Betts, 22, was one of the nine people murdered by her brother, Dayton Assistant Police Chief Lt. Col. Matt Carper said in a press conference.
Investigators have not yet determined the motive for the mass shooting, which left 27 other people wounded, police said.
The shooter in El Paso, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, was arrested by police.
Prosecutors in Texas said they planned to seek the death penalty in the case and federal authorities said they were treating the El Paso massacre as “domestic terrorism” and a “hate crime.”