Democrats aim outrage at White House after shootings
Walmart faces pressure to stop gun sales
Two mass shootings that killed 29 people in Texas and Ohio reverberated across the US political arena, with some Democratic presidential candidates accusing President Donald Trump of stoking racial divisions while he said “hate has no place in our country.”
Dozens were also wounded Saturday and early Sunday in shootings within just 13 hours of each other in carnage that shocked a country that has become grimly accustomed to mass shootings and heightened concerns about domestic terrorism.
The El Paso shooting sent shock waves onto the campaign trail for next year’s presidential election, with most Democratic candidates repeating calls for tighter gun control measures and some drawing connections to a resurgence in white nationalism and xenophobic politics in the US.
Several 2020 candidates said Trump was indirectly to blame.
“Donald Trump is responsible for this. He is responsible because he is stoking fears and hatred and bigotry,” US Senator Cory Booker said on CNN’S “State of the Union.”
Speaking to reporters on the airport tarmac in Morristown, New Jersey after spending the weekend at his golf resort nearby, Trump said: “Hate has no place in our country, and we’re going to take care of it.”
In his first public comments on the shootings, he said he had spoken to the FBI, Attorney General William Barr and members of Congress about what can be done to prevent such violence, adding that “we have to get it stopped.” But he offered no specifics.
It was a personal issue for Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’rourke, the former congressman who returned to El Paso after the attack in his hometown. Asked on CNN if he believed Trump was a white nationalist, he responded, “Yes, I do.”
“He is an open avowed racist and is encouraging more racism in this country,” O’rourke said.
Several hundred students, teachers and relatives filled a high school athletic stadium in Texas on Monday to honor a teenager of Us-mexican citizenship who was the youngest of 22 killed in a shooting rampage police suspect was driven by racism.
Javier Rodriguez, 15, was one week into his sophomore year at Horizon High School, where he played on the soccer team, when he was cut down by gunfire at a Walmart store on Saturday in the west Texas border city of El Paso.
Walmart Inc said on Monday there has been no change in its policy on gun sales after two mass shootings over the weekend, including one at a Walmart store, left 31 people dead in Texas and Ohio.
Years of public pressure led Walmart, the largest US arms retailer, to end assault rifle sales in 2015 and in 2018 to raise the minimum age for gun purchases to 21. Some gun control activists and Walmart customers now want the retailer to drop sales of guns and ammunition altogether.