The gunman in the El Paso mass shooting was consumed ‘by racist hate’, President Trump has said, in the wake of the two shootings over the weekend.
The President said the US must ‘condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy’, in an address today at the White House.
He described the recent mass shootings in the US as ‘evil attacks’ and crimes ‘against all humanity’.
He said that unity must replace hatred in society following the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that left 29 people dead and dozens wounded.
‘In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,’ he said and urged Democrats and Republicans to set aside partisanship and find solutions to violence.
'The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online, consumed by racist hate. In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.
‘These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul,' he said.
He called for stronger action to address mental illness, violence in the media and in video games and warned of ‘the perils of the internet and social media’.
But, the President appeared to have mistaken Dayton, Ohio, where the shooter targeted, and instead referenced Toledo, a city also in Ohio.
‘May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo,’ he said at the end of his address to the nation.
Yesterday, the President denounced the shootings by saying 'hate has no place in our country', insisting 'we're going to take care of the problem'.
He faced intense criticism over his handling of the tragedy and outrage over the failure on gun control in America.
The tragedies took the number of US mass shootings in 2019 past 250, prompting outcry from the public for stricter gun laws.
The first attack, which took place on Saturday, saw a gunman open fire in a crowded Walmart in El Paso with an assault-style rifle leaving 20 people dead and 26 injured.
Suspect Patrick Crusiu, 21, surrendered after being confronted by police officers outside the store.
Investigators believe that the massacre was racially motivated, stemming from posts on a far right online message board, which describes a "cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion", believed to be referring to Hispanic people in the US.
Just hours after the El Paso massacre, on Sunday morning, a gunman in Dayton, Ohio, opened fire in the city’s downtown area around 1am on Sunday, killing nine people.
He was armed with a high-powered rifle and a 100-round magazine before police fatally shot him seconds after he opened fire.
The shooter was named as Connor Betts, 24, whose motive is not yet clear although it was alleged to have been a hate crime.
Betts’s 22-year-old sister Megan was among the victims.
"She was not the first victim, but she was one of the initial victims," police told reporters.
Mr Betts's rifle was ordered online from Texas, police said, and there was nothing in his history that would have stopped him from buying the gun legally.
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On Saturday Donald Trump faced heavy criticism for hardly mentioning the Texas shooting, having sent just a few short tweets and proclaiming to lower flags to half mast.
As the US president travelled back to the White House on Sunday, Trump said: “I want to extend our condolences from El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. They’re incredible people, they’ve been through a lot.”
He added: “Hate has no place in our country. We’re going to take care of it.”
The president went on to link both attacks to a "mental illness problem".
"If you look at both of these cases, this is mental illness. These are people who are very, very seriously mentally ill," he said.
But critics including many politicians argue that the president's language about immigrants and Mexicans in particular, and his opposition to gun control may have been the root of the massacres.
“There’s a statutory definition of domestic terrorism — this meets it,” John Bash, the U.S. attorney for West Texas, said at a news conference.
“It appears to be designed to intimidate a civilian population, to say the least.”
According to the Gun Violence Research group, the number of mass shootings so far in 2019 is 251, which outpaces the number of days so far this year, which is 216.
The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people were shot, excluding the shooter.
The Justice Department on Sunday said it was treating a mass shooting in Texas as domestic terrorism.