Topline: U.S. President Donald Trump has called for strong background checks and admitted “perhaps more needs to be done” after 29 people were killed and dozens injured in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, adding that the suspects were “mentally ill”.
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His comments have drawn criticism from Democratic presidential candidates, who accuse him of being complicit and “encouraging white nationalism.”
- The suspect at the Walmart El Paso shooting on Saturday has been identified in reports as Patrick Crusius, 21, with authorities treating the killings as domestic terrorism.
- The Dayton nightclub shooting suspect is 24-year-old Connor Betts. According to reports, his 22-year-old sister, Megan, was among the nine killed and 27 wounded on Sunday. He was killed by officers within a minute of launching the attack.
- Speaking to reporters, Trump described the shooters as “very, very seriously mentally ill.” He added: “This has been going on for years and we have to get it stopped.”
- On Monday, he tweeted: “Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform.”
- Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who was born in El Paso, told CNN that Trump “is an open, avowed racist” and blamed the president for inflaming racial hatred in the U.S. “Let’s be very clear about what is causing this and who the president is,” he said.
- It comes as authorities are investigating a hate-filled manifesto they believe was published by the El Paso gunman on extremist-linked forum 8chan, minutes before the violence unfolded. It appears to be inspired by the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shooting in March, according to the New York Times.
- Cloudflare, the U.S. cybersecurity company, announced on Sunday evening it would no longer provide 8chan protection from distributed denial of service (DDOS).
What to watch for: Trump will make a further statement about the shootings on Monday.
Key background: Other Democrats running for office have lined up to condemn Trump’s rhetoric towards immigrants, including Pete Buttigieg, who accused Trump of “condoning and encouraging white nationalism.” Cory Booker said Trump had “sown the seeds which we are now seeing become this harvest of hate.”
Trump has previously referred to migrants from Central and South America as criminals, rapists and gang members, and referred to migration from the region as an “invasion” as he has tried to push through his plans to build a wall along the border.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said six Mexicans were among the dead at the El Paso shooting, with the nation calling for greater protection for Mexicans and Mexican-Americans living in the U.S.