President Donald Trump spoke to the press on the White House South Lawn ahead of his trips to both El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday.
Asked about politicians like Beto O’Rourke slamming him as racist in the wake of the recent mass shootings, Trump said his most extreme critics right now are “political people.”
“They’re trying to make political points,” he said, waving off the criticism.
“These are people who are looking for political gain,” he later added.
At one point the president referred to O’Rourke specifically without actually naming the former Texas congressman by name.
Trump said some of his current critics are “political people from Texas who aren’t doing very well,” clearly referring to O’Rourke struggling in the polls against other 2020 Democrat hopefuls. O’Rourke has slammed Trump as a white supremacist in the wake of the El Paso shooting and he said the president’s rhetoric directly leads to mass shootings.
Asked about critics telling him to “tone down” his rhetoric, Trump bit back.
“I think we have toned it down,” he said. He later said he believes his rhetoric “brings people together.”
With some blaming Trump for the shooting in El Paso, Trump brought up the fact that the Dayton mass shooter has been proven to be a leftist and a fan of Antifa, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).
Source: Fox News
“He was a fan of Antifa, Sanders [and] Warren,” Trump said of the Dayton, Ohio shooter.
“I don’t blame Elizabeth Warren and I don’t blame Bernie Sanders for Ohio,” the president added. He reiterated past comments by saying that this the issue of mass shooters is a “mental problem,” not a political one.
On future action to respond to mass shootings, Trump said he is currently speaking with congressional leadership and he will call members of Congress back from their August recess if he feels a new deal is close.
On what specific deals might be made the president said there is “great appetite” for increased background checks. He added, however, that there is “no appetite” right now to ban any specific guns or to ban large capacity magazines.
“Background checks are important,” Trump said. He added that he wants to keep guns out of the hands of “mentally unstable people” and “people with rage or hate.” He promised “background checks like never before” and said his discussions with congressional leadership are “getting close.”
“We have made a lot of headway in the last three days,” he added.
Source: Fox News
“I’ll be convincing some people to do some things they don’t want to do,” he added about any pushback from members of Congress to new legislation on guns.
At the end of his press conference, Trump was again asked about his critics going after his rhetoric despite the president actually denouncing “any group of hate” just moments earlier.
Asked about Joe Biden comparing him to divisive figures like segregationist George Wallace, Trump again waved off the criticism and even dismissed the former vice president.
“Joe is a pretty incompetent guy,” he said.
He added about the former vice president, “Joe Biden has truly lost his fastball.”
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