President Donald Trump’s critics were quick to pounce over the weekend after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.
With the Texas shooter leaving a record of anti-immigrant comments on social media, Trump was blamed for inciting the massacre with his harsh words about illegal immigration, particularly at the southern border, and trying to enforce existing immigration laws.
Against the constant refrain of him being to blame, Trump spoke, delivering a message of unity and civility just as critics said a president should do. The counter: Trump was not sincere.
Even the New York Times had to back down in the face of an anti-Trump outcry. After the president’s speech, the newspaper’s front page headline stated: “Trump urges unity vs. racism.” Amid a social media furor of complaints and threats to cancel subscriptions, the headline was changed to read: “Assailing hate but not guns.”
Then when the president decided to go to El Paso and Dayton, the critics said he should stay away and essentially remain silent unless his words were to show support for new gun-control measures.
Never mind that Democratic presidential candidates and their supporters were having a field day with the weekend’s tragic events, calling Trump a racist and even going so far as to call out his donors in El Paso.
And what of the social media words linked to the Dayton shooter? Trump and his team pointed out that the accused apparently was a Trump hater and a supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren. By comparison to blaming Trump for El Paso, that part of the story has been little reported.
The tragedies of the past weekend are being used as weapons in political warfare. Donald Trump is not to blame for El Paso any more than Elizabeth Warren is to blame for Dayton. As pointed out in a column on this past today by Scott Rasmussen, there are no “magical solutions or silver linings” regarding mass shootings in the United States.
But incendiary words that mark the political warfare being waged by the president and his opponents do not help. They further divide the nation in looking for solutions – not just for mass shootings but on just about every other major issue.
Trump will not stop firing back at the barrage of criticism leveled at him on every front. That has been established. But if his critics are so adamant about the need for the president to travel the high road in the name of national unity, they should start by making a turn onto the same street.