Earlier today, a twenty-one year old white man opened fire in an El Paso Walmart, killing twenty people. In the hours since, various major media outlets have reported on the shooter’s social media posts, which include white nationalist leanings. All eyes were on Donald Trump, as the shooter’s rhetoric closely resembled Trump’s own rhetoric.
Trump ended up posting this message: “Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people. Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the great people of Texas.” That’s when everyone started piling on.
Various respondents pointed out numerous problems with Donald Trump’s message. First, he obviously didn’t write it himself. Second, while he appears to be subtly acknowledging that this was a hate crime, he’s refusing to call this an act of domestic terrorism, and he’s refusing to acknowledge that it was driven by white nationalism.
Third, Donald Trump is in bed with the NRA, a pro-gun terrorist group that keeps targeting the United States. Fourth, Trump is pushing the “thoughts and prayers” trope that rings hollow when it comes from someone who promotes white nationalist violence, and who opposes gun control. Notably, the conciliatory tone of Trump’s tweet suggests that he fears he’s going to be (accurately) blamed for today’s shooting.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report