Donald Trump has called for new background-check laws in the aftermath of the deadly mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, but added the incendiary suggestion that any new laws should be “married” to overhauling immigration rules.
“We cannot let those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, die in vain. Likewise for those so seriously wounded,” he wrote Monday morning. “We can never forget them, and those many who came before them.”
The president added: “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!”
Trump’s suggestion that gun control be linked to immigration reform comes after it was reported that the El Paso shooting suspect had targeted Hispanic people in a spree that left 20 dead.
The gunman is known to have railed against immigration in the most racist terms and police are treating the shooting as domestic terrorism after finding the suspect’s anti-immigrant manifesto.
The suggestion that gun control laws be tied to immigration reform was immediately condemned by Democrat Rep. Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who told Morning Joe the shootings were “at least in part a result of [Trump's] racist rhetoric... people have warned that they would lead to violence and now they have.”
Nadler added, “What's the connection between background checks on guns and immigration reform? That we have to keep guns out of the hands of the invading hordes of less than human people coming across our borders? That's the implication. That's disgusting. It reminds me of the 1930s in Germany.”
Nine people were killed in Dayton, but the suspect’s motive isn’t clear. Neither the El Paso nor Dayton gunmen were reported to have had a criminal record that would have prevented them from buying firearms legally.
Trump went on to blame the media for the mass shootings, predicting that the violence will continue until he is given more positive coverage. “Fake news has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years,” he said. “News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced, and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”