Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, says she is “hopping mad” over scanty media coverage of the Dayton, Ohio, mass shooter’s progressive political views, which she contrasted with reporting that compared the El Paso, Texas, gunman’s “manifesto” to tweets and speeches by President Trump.
But unlike the El Paso massacre, which is being investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime aimed at Hispanics, there is at this point no indication that the mass shooting in Dayton was racially or politically motivated.
“I’m hopping mad this morning,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends” Tuesday. “Because I see very little, scant coverage of the fact that this Dayton shooter has been confirmed as having a Twitter feed that was supportive of antifa, that was supportive of Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders.”
CNN reported that a Twitter account appearing to belong to the gunman, 24-year-old Connor Betts, contained “extreme left views.” The Twitter bio read: “he/him/anime fan/metalhead/leftist/i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” In a recent tweet, he indicated that he would “happily” vote for Warren, according to CNN.
Police say Betts was wearing a mask and a bulletproof vest when he opened fire outside a nightclub in Dayton early Sunday, killing nine people, including his sister, and wounding as many as 30 others, before he was shot dead by police.
Of the nine killed, six were black. But authorities do not believe the gunman was motivated by race, and they have not disclosed any evidence linking the shooting to politics.
“We are not seeing any indication of race being the motive,” Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl told reporters Monday. “But we are not through all the evidence. And so until we are through all the evidence we cannot rule that out. But I’m saying we are not seeing anything at this time to suggest race as a motive.”
People who knew Betts, though, cited warning signs of instability dating back to high school.
Former classmates recalled that he kept a “hit list” of classmates he wanted to “kill” or “rape.” He was the lead singer of a “pornogrind” band that glorified sexual violence. And his ex-girlfriend told NBC News that he showed her footage of a mass shooting on their first date.
“This isn’t about race, this isn’t about religion. It’s none of those things,” said Adelia Johnson, the gunman’s former girlfriend. “This is a man who was in pain who didn’t get the help that he needed.”
“People go every day being perfectly fine with having a mental illness, me included, and he just got the short end of the stick,” she added. “No support system.”
Conway criticized Democratic presidential candidates, including Rep. Tim Ryan and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, for calling attention to the link between Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and the mass shooting in El Paso.
“That doesn’t heal a single soul,” she said.
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