Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

We’ve heard Trump’s empty platitudes about mass shootings before – nothing will change while he’s in power

The US president and his GOP acolytes are Big Brother, laughing cynically as we are massacred in our cities, ridiculed in the international community over gun violence and more divided with every waking day


Carli Pierson
Monday 05 August 2019 17:05 BST
Donald Trump says 'hate has no place in our country' after two mass shootings

Republican members of congress tweeted out “thoughts and prayers” on Sunday after the attacks in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend that left at least 30 dead, just like they have in the litany of previous mass shootings, knowing full well that America needs much more from their elected officials than that.

Others, including Donald Trump, have blamed the mass shootings on video games and mental illness.

Although the police haven’t officially confirmed the El Paso shooter’s motive, make no mistake: he drove nine hours from outside Dallas to El Paso with his assault-style weapon for the sole purpose of slaughtering Mexicans; one of the deadliest attacks on Mexican people in US history. Before he set out on his macabre journey, he mentioned a “Hispanic invasion” in his manifesto that is now circulating on the internet.

The link between the attacks and racism are so glaring that two days later even Trump has been forced to openly denounce his most trusted tool: white supremacy.

But these attacks were no coincidence. Trump has tweeted about Latino migrants invading the country before. At a rally in May, Trump laughed when – in response to his question to the audience “how do we get rid of them?” – someone in the audience yelled: “Shoot them!”

The shooter may have been a white supremacist since before Trump was president, but it is undeniable that his presidency has legitimised white nationalist violence.

The US has had a problem with mass public shootings since the 1990s, but the violence in El Paso is a function of Trump’s long history of anti-immigrant, racist rhetoric dating back to his “birther” days when Barack Obama was running for president. It is also a function of the GOP’s historic resistance to gun control and their unwavering support of a president who inspires and legitimises racism.

When asked about party opposition to gun regulation, the GOP talking point has long been that the Republican Party is against government meddling in American lives. But GOP legislators have been quick to push for laws that regulate women’s bodies and withdraw funds from organisations like Planned Parenthood, which help women gain autonomy. Clearly, Trump and the GOP are mocking Americans.

Trump’s presidency has been leading up to this; a moment when the racial hatred and pandemonium stoked by his rhetoric became both terrifyingly deadly and commonplace. Trump voters must take a hard look at the man they elected to the Oval Office, as should the GOP members of congress that support him and have done nothing to make America safe from gun violence or white supremacy.

We have a president who openly trolls minorities and calls Mexicans “rapists and murderers”; tells US congresswomen to “go back to where they came from”; tries to ban Muslims from entering the country and, when a white supremacist barrelled through a crowd of protestors killing a woman at a white nationalist rally in Virginia, famously said: “There were very fine people on both sides.” But there are no good, murderous racists. There are, however, enablers.

Independent Minds Events: get involved in the news agenda

Republican members of congress have rarely called out Trump for his racist comments and policies. The reason? At best, while they may not agree with his views, they’re worried about re-election and isolating voters who support Trump’s racist world vision. At worst, they don’t say anything because they are letting Trump do the dirty work for them. Either way, it’s unacceptable.

Republicans are worried about winning elections, not protecting their constituents. If they cared about American lives, they would have done something about gun control long before Trump came to office. Today’s self-professed Christian GOP legislators worship at the altar of the god of government contracts and lobbyists; Jesus Christ and his message to “love thy neighbour” have nothing to do with it. The GOP is no longer the party of Lincoln – it is now the party of hypocrites and hate-mongers who have anything but the best interests of average Americans at heart. It is time we voted them out.

Trump and his GOP acolytes are Big Brother, looking down upon us and laughing cynically as we are massacred in our cities, ridiculed in the international community for our handling of the gun violence crisis, and more and more divided with every waking day.

Things are going to get worse before they get better. With a president who uncontrollably spews racial hatred and a Senate of sycophants that do nothing to stop him and refuse to enact common sense gun control laws – I’m afraid to say that we will see more horrific, racially motivated gun violence before the end of this tragic presidency.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in