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President Trump on Monday morning blamed the media for “anger and rage” that gave way to the shootings that left at least 31 dead in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend. “The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country,” he tweeted. “Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”
Minutes before pointing the finger at the media, Trump called for Republicans and Democrats to “come together” to “get strong background checks.” The call for action was immediately stripped of sincerity when in the next sentence the president suggested “marrying” the legislation to immigration reform.
It’s also not the first time Trump has made a weak plea for background checks following a mass shooting. In the wake of the Parkland massacre in 2018, he expressed support for several gun control measures, including universal background checks. But the president quickly retreated after meeting with the National Rifle Association, and no substantial legislation was ever passed.
The tweets come after a weekend in which Trump’s responded erratically to the gun violence.
On Saturday in the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, he issues a boilerplate tweet about how “reports are very bad, many killed” and that he pledged the assistance of the federal government to Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Fourteen minutes later, Trump tweeted well wishes to Colby Covington, an MMA fighter who supports him. “Fight hard tonight Colby. You are a real Champ! #MAGA,” he wrote above a picture of him smiling with Covington. That night, Trump was all smiles as he dropped in on a wedding at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
The response wasn’t much different Sunday. He again spent the day at his golf course in Bedminster, capping off updates about the federal government cooperating with law enforcement with a pair of tweets announcing that he authorized the flags at federal government building to fly at half mast. “Melania and I are praying for all those impacted by this unspeakable act of evil!” he said, finally. Though the El Paso shooter posted a manifesto decrying an “invasion” of immigrants, at no point did Trump condemn white nationalism, white supremacy or xenophobia.
A few minutes after posting his anti-media tweet, Trump retweeted a follower who thanked him for “stand[ing] up for others” in the wake of the tragedies, along with an image of him staring out the window of the Oval Office, presumably deep in thought.
This post has been updated.
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