‘Trump’s racism leads to violence’: Democrats blame president for deadly El Paso shooting

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‘Trump’s racism leads to violence’: Democrats blame president for deadly El Paso shootingDemocratic presidential candidates condemned Donald Trump’s racism and the failure to take action on gun control following the mass shooting by a suspected white supremacist in El Paso.Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke, who represented the district where the attack took place, said the US president’s rhetoric ”fundamentally changes the character of the country – and it leads to violence”.He added: “We have to ask ourselves about the level of hatred and racism we are seeing in the country right now.”Bernie Sanders also targeted the president as he urged the US to “come together to reject this dangerous and growing culture of bigotry espoused by Trump and his allies.”“Instead of wasting money putting children in cages, we must seriously address the scourge of violent bigotry and domestic terrorism,” the Vermont senator added.“We must treat this violent racism like the security threat that it is.”Mr Sanders also joined renewed calls for gun safety legislation after it emerged that 20 people had been killed in the attack at a Walmart store. “After every tragedy the Senate, intimidated by the NRA’s power, does nothing,” he said. “This must change. We need a president and congress that listen to Americans, not the ideology of a right-wing extremist organisation. We must pass common sense gun safety legislation.”California senator Kamala Harris urged the president to “have the courage to do something” and said Congress should pass “reasonable gun safety laws”, adding: ”We shouldn’t have to live in fear of mass shootings.”Former vice president Joe Biden tweeted: “How many lives must be cut short? How many communities must be torn apart? It’s past time we take action and end our gun violence epidemic.”“Time to ban and buy back every assault weapon in America,” said California congressman Eric Swallwell.Targeting the Republican leadership in Washington DC, Elizabeth Warren said: “Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear that if they go to Walmart, or a festival, or school, or just walk down the street that they won’t make it home alive. This has to stop.”As it emerged that the suspect – a white man in his 20s named as Patrick Crusius - had posted a racist manifesto online before launching the attack, Pete Buttigieg said the US was “under attack from white nationalist terrorism”.He said that the attacker was “abetted by weak gun laws” and added: “If we are serious about national security, we must summon the courage to name and defeat this evil.”Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was one of four female politicians attacked by Mr Trump in recent racist tweets, said right-wing extremists were being radicalised on social media including Youtube and Facebook.“White supremacy has quickly turned into a domestic terror crisis,” she said. “They rely on you thinking it’s not a big deal. It is a big deal. White supremacy now makes up the majority of domestic terrorism in the United States. They radicalize online.”The congresswoman added: ”We can no longer bear to see gun violence and mass shootings continue as a norm in America. How many deaths to gun violence could have been preventable with responsible gun safety laws? How many children would still have their mothers? Enough. It’s way past time we act.”Mr Trump has faced widespread criticism during his presidency for calling immigrants ”animals”, drug dealers and rapists and describing their arrival at the US-Mexico border as an “invasion”.A poll found more than half of American voters thought Mr Trump was racist following his attacks on Baltimore as a “rodent infested mess” and his tweet telling four Democrat congresswomen – including Somali-born Ilhan Omar and three US citizens – to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”The US president has condemned the shooting as a “hateful act” and said it “was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice ... there are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people.”

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