Before President Trump boarded his plane to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas on Wednesday to meet with communities in mourning, he spoke with reporters on the White House lawn. The press particularly wanted to know what he thought of his accusers tying his rhetoric to the shooting in El Paso. The suspect used language similar to that of Trump's immigration remarks in his online manifesto, according to some.
President Trump speaks to reporters before departing for his visits to Dayton and El Paso and says critics of his rhetoric are "people who are looking for political gain" https://t.co/FkjDJtROch pic.twitter.com/SKCI5exmZQ— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 7, 2019
"My critics are political people," Trump said. "They’re trying to make points. In many cases, they are running for president and they’re very low in the polls."
He couldn’t be more right if he’s talking about presidential candidates Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, both of whom are struggling to gain even single digit support. As representatives of last weekend's targeted states, they've been two of the most vocal critics of Trump since the shootings. O'Rourke has been especially condemnatory, saying on Monday that Trump has been "reveling in the hatred and the racism" in the country. He's thrown in a few expletives too. The president told him to "be quiet," but other than that he hasn't said much of the critique.
"As much as possible, I’ve tried to stay out of that," Trump said at the White House on Wednesday.
In fact, when discussing the shooting in Dayton, which was orchestrated by a young man who claimed to be a "leftist," Trump said he didn't blame Democrats for the bloodshed. He blamed "sick people."
Trump says he blames "these sick people, people that are mentally ill, mentally disturbed" for mass shootings https://t.co/HHghAb803k pic.twitter.com/DCveKaplFa— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 7, 2019
“I don’t blame Elizabeth Warren, and I don’t blame Bernie Sanders in the case of Ohio,” Trump explained. “And I don’t blame anybody. These are sick people….it’s a mental problem.”
The president didn't seem surprised by the Democratic candidates' public criticism of him, but he was a little miffed by Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley's attitude. When he spoke with her last weekend she "could not have been nicer," he said. Yet, when speaking to reporters on Tuesday, she said that the president has been "unhelpful" and she plans to tell him that herself. She also encouraged protesters to do their thing when he arrives.
Again, Trump said, "they’re trying to make political points."
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