Two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, occurred back-to-back this past weekend, rocking the country and bringing gun control back to the forefront of national conversation.
The El Paso shooter, who killed at least 20 people, is reported to have written a document filled with "white supremacist language" and targeting Hispanic people and immigrants, according to CNN. The Dayton shooter, who killed at least 9 people, has been reported to have a had a history of targeting his female classmates and once created a "rape list" of women at his school.
Ahead, a look at how all the 2020 candidates have responded to the recent attacks, including President Trump's recent address to the nation.
Right after the shooting in El Paso, Trump called the reports “very bad” and later said he and the First Lady were “praying for all those impacted by this unspeakable act of evil,” referring to both the El Paso and Dayton shootings.
Trump then tweeted about the need for stronger background checks, suggesting that lawmakers marry gun reform legislation with immigration reform.
....this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2019
He also linked "Fake News" to the "anger and rage that has built up over many years," seemingly blaming the media for these violent attacks.
Then on Monday morning, Trump delivered a national address about the shootings and incorrectly said that one of the shootings took place in Toledo, Ohio, instead of Dayton, Ohio. During the address he also said he supports "red flag" laws, which, according to Time, "allow authorities to confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous." Trump added that he believes, "Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun."
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 5, 2019
Biden tweeted a thread, writing that he was “heartbroken to hear the news from El Paso” and that “our thoughts are with those impacted by yet another senseless act of gun violence in America.”
In his thread, he called out the NRA and gun manufacturers as well as Trump: “We can’t fix a problem if we refuse to name it: white nationalism. An ideology emboldened by a President who stokes the flames of hatred and coddles white supremacists with messages of support.” He also called for the Senate to pass the House’s universal background check bill.
We can’t fix a problem if we refuse to name it: white nationalism. An ideology emboldened by a president who stokes the flames of hatred and coddles white supremacists with messages of support.
We must do what Trump won't: condemn this evil and eradicate it from our society.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 4, 2019
It was also reported that during a fundraiser on Sunday, Biden at first mistakenly referred to mass shootings in Houston and Michigan, instead of in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. He later corrected himself.
O’Rourke, a native of El Paso, Texas, called the city one of the “strongest places in the world.” He also tweeted out a link to a fund for the victims of the El Paso shooting.
In an interview with CNN, he called Trump a racist and said, “He stokes racism in this country, and it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country, and it leads to violence.”
President Trump's racism does not just offend our sensibilities; it fundamentally changes the character of this country. And it leads to violence. pic.twitter.com/SbuxGneFnh
— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) August 4, 2019
O’Rourke also had an extremely candid response when asked whether there was anything Trump could do to make this better, saying: “What do you think? You know the shit he’s been saying. He’s been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. I don’t know, like, members of the press, what the fuck? … It’s these questions that you know the answers to. I mean, connect the dots about what he’s been doing in this country. He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism. He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country… I don’t know what kind of question that is.”
I didn’t get video, but here’s audio of the question and Beto O’Rourke’s answer. This came after an emotional vigil in El Paso, as O’Rourke circled behind a building looking for his wife. pic.twitter.com/VBk8xoE1lz
— Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) August 5, 2019
Harris called gun violence a national emergency and labeled these recent mass shootings as domestic terrorism. On MSNBC, she said Trump has given white nationalism power and embraced it, and on CNN, Harris laid out her plan to instate national background checks and put a ban on the importation of assault weapons into the United States.
We don't lack good ideas when it comes to gun safety reforms — people lack the courage to act. That's why, when elected president, I'm prepared to take executive action and save lives. pic.twitter.com/6qrOzwOu3y
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 5, 2019
She also encouraged her followers to contribute to organizations working to end gun violence:
Thoughts and prayers aren't enough — we need action. Split a contribution today between @GiffordsCourage, @bradybuzz, and @MomsDemand who are actively working to end this public health emergency. https://t.co/khTUfYFsWD
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) August 4, 2019
During a recent event, Sanders spoke about the shootings, saying, “I think all over the world, people are looking at the United States and wondering, ‘What is going on? What is the mental health situation in America where time after time after time we’re seeing indescribable horrors?’”
Sen. @BernieSanders on the El Paso shooting. “The American people are overwhelmingly united. And that is gun owners and non-gun owners, in wanting to see the passage of common sense gun safety legislation” video via @DaniellaMicaela & @carolinerkenny pic.twitter.com/0JKw95ZwUD
— Ryan Nobles (@ryanobles) August 3, 2019
He also tweeted that "we must seriously address the scourge of violent bigotry and domestic terrorism" and "treat this violent racism like the security threat that it is."
Sanders also released a longer statement on the recent shootings and the need for common sense gun reform on Medium. Read it here.
Warren, another member of the Senate, tweeted that we must treat gun violence in America “like the public health crisis that it is” and called on the Senate to come back from recess to vote on legislation addressing gun reform.
After speaking about domestic terrorism and Trump’s support of white nationalism on NBC, she was asked whether she believes Trump is a white nationalist. Warren responded, “He certainly has done everything that the white nationalists have wanted him to do.”
I just talked to @Kasie Hunt about how white nationalism is domestic terrorism. And as Donald Trump has made one ugly statement after another, we’ve seen it on the rise. White nationalists embrace him, and the Republicans enable him.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 5, 2019
Gillibrand called gun violence in America a “national emergency” and wrote we must “get serious about curbing the heinous threat of white nationalist terrorism.” As a member of the Senate, she asked for the group to hold an emergency vote on universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, and on anti-gun trafficking laws.
"It's absurd," Kirsten Gillibrand on Trump suggesting tying gun measures to immigration reform: "He's linking the issue of basic common sense gun reform ... with this issue of immigration because, again, he continues to try to demonize people seeking asylum" pic.twitter.com/Ol7zW185fS
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 5, 2019
Booker tweeted that "we need to end this national nightmare" and that he was praying "for our country to find the moral courage to take action to end this carnage."
Enough. We need to end this national nightmare. Praying for everyone affected by this unspeakable tragedy, and for our country to find the moral courage to take action to end this carnage. https://t.co/vqTMSlbR8j
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 3, 2019
On MSNBC, Booker called Trump responsible for fueling white supremacy and inciting gun violence, saying that Trump has been sowing hatred in our country.
One of the lessons in my faith is that you reap what you sow.
When Donald Trump uses words like “infestation,” “invasion” and “shithole countries”—
When he refuses to condemn Neo-Nazis and white supremacists—
Trump is giving license to this kind of violence. He’s responsible. pic.twitter.com/hf3ugZIO5D
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) August 4, 2019
He also called for Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate (of which he is a member) back from recess in order to vote on gun reform legislation.
It was reported that Buttigieg asked his supporters to call their senators to ask for action on gun legislation as well as donate to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a grassroots organization.
Buttigieg also spoke out on CNN and Fox News, where he said, “We cannot allow the Second Amendment to be a death sentence for thousands of Americans a year. Nor can we say there’s nothing to be done when we live in the only country where this is routine.”
2020 presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg on the latest mass shootings: “Every time this happens we say never again. We say we're going to do something. We say it's going to change and it hasn't. … I’m wondering what it will take to get the sense of urgency” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/12NTd8Y3kD
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 4, 2019
“We’re the only nation in the world with more guns than people... the only nation where this happens all the time.” - @PeteButtigieg on Fox News today
Great to see Pete determined to get the hard truths through on state TV. pic.twitter.com/9EDjDVqlKJ
— Justin Kanew (@Kanew) August 5, 2019
During an event at the University of Nevada, Buttigieg said, "America is under attack from homegrown white nationalist terrorism." And while on MSNBC, Buttigieg asked viewers: “Will the President of the United States leave his golf resort, go back to Washington, address the nation, condemn in no uncertain terms white nationalism as an evil ideology that is inspiring some people to commit murder, and call for the Senate to convene tomorrow to enact at least the most basic gun safety reforms that most Americans want?”
Will the President of the United States leave his golf resort, go back to Washington, address the nation, condemn—in no uncertain terms—white nationalism, and call for the Senate to convene tomorrow to enact at least the most basic gun safety reforms that most Americans want? pic.twitter.com/GEVLkLuWei
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) August 4, 2019
While speaking on ABC, Castro also said, “We need leadership at every level, starting with the president, that will be big enough to try and bring people of different backgrounds together because we know that this shooter and his bigotry does not reflect the vast majority of Americans of any background.”
Following the mass shootings, Julian Castro says "we need to enact common sense gun reform" and "we need leadership at every level, starting with the president, that will be big enough to try to bring people of different backgrounds together" https://t.co/F6HCoNqIK8 pic.twitter.com/hOH4IVeyWy
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 5, 2019
And during an appearance on Meet the Press, Castro also said that President Trump doesn’t have “any credibility” after the shootings.
WATCH: Presidential Candidate Julian Castro tells Chuck Todd that the president doesn't have "any credibility anymore" after shootings in El Paso and Dayton. #MTP @JulianCastro: We need to "address this toxic white supremacy that is brewing throughout the country" pic.twitter.com/4E0GCfGnJw
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) August 4, 2019
Bill de Blasio
Two mass shootings in less than 24 hours. Three in one week.
Domestic terrorism perpetrated by white nationalists is bringing our country to its knees. This president needs to address the nation and be honest about the real threat to our sovereignty.
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) August 4, 2019
Klobuchar, who's a member of the Senate, urged the group to pass common sense gun safety legislation and asked politicians to stand up to the NRA. She also tweeted about her experience after Parkland, when she went to the White House and "sat across the table from President Trump to make the case for strong gun laws." She says Trump said he wanted universal background checks nine times but then folded after meeting with the NRA the following day.
“We're going to get it passed." That's what Donald Trump said to me on February 28, 2018 at the White House about gun safety laws after Parkland. Watch...
Then he met with the NRA and he caved. pic.twitter.com/MCwCZYyGTi
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) August 5, 2019
On Twitter, Bennet called for action around our "horrible epidemic of gun violence" and wrote, "We have to forcefully denounce violent acts of domestic terrorism and white supremacy. We need a President who will stand up to hate, instead of stoking division."
We have to forcefully denounce violent acts of domestic terrorism and white supremacy. We need a President who will stand up to hate, instead of stoking division.
— Michael Bennet (@MichaelBennet) August 4, 2019
Bullock also called for action and labeled the El Paso shooting “an act of domestic terrorism." He tweeted, “The complexity of the problems underlying this gun violence epidemic cannot serve as the excuse for inaction.”
Not even 24 hours after El Paso, we wake up to more bloodshed in Dayton.
I’m heartbroken for both communities — and for our country.
The complexity of the problems underlying this gun violence epidemic cannot serve as the excuse for inaction.
— Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock) August 4, 2019
Delaney tweeted the details of his gun safety plan and then explained that he believes we need to require liability insurance to own or purchase a firearm. He wrote, “It would probably cost an average hunter $5 a year, but if you have a history of hate crimes it would be cost prohibitive. Commonsense.”
There are many things we need to do on gun safety, including requiring liability insurance to own/purchase a firearm (like we do to own a car). It would probably cost an average hunter $5 a year, but if you have a history of hate crimes it would be cost prohibitive. Commonsense.
— John Delaney (@JohnDelaney) August 4, 2019
After the news of the second shooting in Dayton, Gabbard tweeted, “These lives lost are an immediate and tragic consequence of racism and bigotry being used to divide us. Enough. We are one nation. We must stand together and end this madness."
This is a dark day in America. Less than 24 hours ago, it was El Paso. Today, Dayton. Tomorrow? These lives lost are an immediate and tragic consequence of racism and bigotry being used to divide us. Enough. We are one nation. We must stand together and end this madness.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) August 4, 2019
In a statement, Hickenlooper said, “We must put the full weight of the presidency behind passing gun safety laws immediately,” and called for universal background checks and licensing and limiting high-capacity magazines.
Inslee urged his followers to support groups like the Alliance for Gun Responsibility and Moms Demand Action. He also made his own video for Twitter, where he condemned Trump, saying, “We have to stop the white nationalism coming out of the White House.”
You’ve heard it said when it comes to terrorism: if you see something, say something. So I’m saying something. This president has to stop emboldening white nationalism. He is actively endangering American lives. pic.twitter.com/H3nvNWvK0C
— Jay Inslee (@JayInslee) August 4, 2019
When asked about Trump's tweet that suggested connecting gun measures to immigration reform, Ryan called the idea “a joke.”
"That's an absolute freaking joke," says Rep. Tim Ryan about President Trump's tweets tying background checks for guns to immigration reform. "Mitch McConnell needs to get off his a-- and do something. People are getting killed in the streets in America and nobody is acting." pic.twitter.com/Rn0jrhFuxQ
— CNN (@CNN) August 5, 2019
He also pushed for the Senate to pass common sense gun reform, telling MSNBC, “Republicans need to, quite frankly, get their shit together and stop pandering to the NRA because people are getting killed."
Rep. Tim Ryan on gun control legislation: "Republicans need to, quite frankly, get their shit together and stop pandering to the NRA because people are getting killed." pic.twitter.com/n5Asp6vhME
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 4, 2019
Williamson tweeted that we must outlaw “all assault style weapons for civilian use” and outlaw “the manufacture and sale of the bullets that they carry.” She then said, “At a certain point it isn’t about what happened; it’s about who we choose to be regarding what happened."
At a certain point it isn’t about what happened; it’s about who we choose to be regarding what happened. Each of us must rise to the occasion now, committing to the electoral defeat of any politician who supports the NRA. Gun safety legislation must be the cry of our generation.
— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) August 3, 2019
In a series of tweets about the shootings, Yang called for common sense gun laws, a clear federal domestic terrorism statute, a national mental health initiative, and a look at how the internet aids in spreading hateful, toxic. messages.
We also need a national mental health initiative. When people - young men in particular - are set to self-destruct there are often signs that go ignored and unaddressed. Millions are suffering from mental illnesses and there is so much more we can do for each other.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) August 3, 2019
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