US mass shootings: Trump condemns deadly attacks amid criticism
President Donald Trump has said “hate has no place” in the US after 29 people were killed in two mass shootings over the weekend, amid accusations that he bears some responsibility.
An attack on a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, left 20 dead, while nine died in a shooting in Dayton, Ohio.
Mr. Trump has said “perhaps more has to be done” to stop such attacks.
Opposition Democrats said he was part of the problem, citing anti-immigrant rhetoric and opposition to gun control.
A 21-year-old white man arrested over Saturday’s shooting in Texas is believed to have posted an online document calling the attack a response to “the Hispanic invasion” of the state.
The motives of the Ohio gunman, who killed his sister and eight others on Sunday before being shot dead by police, are unclear.
Mr. Trump is set to give a national address about the shootings.
Before the statement, he tweeted to suggest both his Republican Party and Democrats should come together to pass new background check legislation while suggesting it could be married with “desperately needed immigration reform”.
“We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!” he posted.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr. Trump said mass shootings needed to be stopped. He also described both gunmen as “very, very seriously mentally ill”.
Investigators have not made any comments about the mental state of the two gunmen.
Since the mass shootings on Saturday, Democrats have vigorously called for new national gun-control measures. On Monday Donald Trump said he would help – with a big string attached.
The president’s suggestion of packaging expanded background checks for gun purchases (something many Republicans hate) with his much-desired immigration reforms (something Democrats loathe) would require considerable political and legislative skill to shepherd through Congress. Those are attributes the president has not consistently demonstrated.
Democrats will howl that calling for immigration reforms they view as inextricably tied to the president’s anti-immigrant rhetoric just days after an anti-immigrant mass murder is offensive in the extreme.
If this is a trial balloon, it will land with a thud.
The president’s tweets may be his effort to shift the focus from what critics say is his responsibility for the spread of white nationalism in the US Mr. Trump has so far blamed mental illness and the media for the shootings, but the pressure will mount for him to address the threat of what even some in his own party are calling “white terrorism”.
A gun-control and immigration debate is familiar territory. Consideration of political rhetoric in the Trump era could hit too close to home.
The gunman opened fire on a crowded Walmart on Saturday with a semi-automatic rifle and surrendered after being confronted by police officers outside the store.
The mass shooting, believed to be the eighth deadliest in modern US history, took place in a city where most of the population of 680,000 is of Hispanic descent.
In addition to the 20 fatalities, 26 people were injured.