The Democrats running to keep President Trump from winning a second term in the White House were unmoved by his address on the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso this weekend.
In a statement at the White House on Monday, Mr. Trump denounced white supremacy, video games and a "culture that celebrates violence." He also claimed that "mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun." But the 2020 Democratic field disagreed that mental illness is to blame for the shootings, arguing that the perpetrators were motivated by a white supremacist ideology and were able to carry out their assaults because of lax gun laws.
"White supremacy is not a mental illness. We need to call it what it is: Domestic terrorism. And we need to call out Donald Trump for amplifying these deadly ideologies," Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted after the president's remarks on Monday. The American Psychological Association also said it's incorrect to blame mass shootings on mental illness, and stated that "only a very small percentage of violent acts" are committed by mentally ill individuals.
Many also took issue with Mr. Trump's call to condemn white nationalism after he said Monday that "in one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy." Several Democratic presidential contenders protested that the president's own rhetoric is to blame for the shootings.
"Let's be very clear. You use the office of the presidency to encourage and embolden white supremacy," former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner, tweeted. "You use words like 'infestation' and 'invasion' to talk about human beings. We won't truly speak with one voice against hatred until your voice is no longer in the White House."
"Mr. President: It's not about what you say. It's about what you do. Stop your hatred, divisiveness and anti-immigrant rhetoric. If you truly want to be bipartisan, ask McConnell to call the Senate back into session and pass gun safety legislation that Americans are demanding," Sanders tweeted.
Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who used to represent El Paso in Congress, offered the harshest criticism of the president, directly accusing Mr. Trump of promoting racism and violence.
"You know the shit he's been saying," O'Rourke told a reporter in response to a question about whether there was anything the president could do now to alleviate the damage. He's been calling Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals. Like, members of the press, what the f***k? Hold on a second. It's these questions that you know the answers to. Connect the dots about what he's doing in this country. He's not tolerating racism, he's promoting racism. He's not tolerating violence, he's inciting racism and violence in this country."