Guns, immigration, and white supremacy - there is no doubt that Donald Trump's rhetoric added to what caused the El Paso shooter to kill. What we need to do now is stop this "climate of fear and hatred".
The El Paso killer hit the deadly trifecta on Saturday, combining the three most volatile issues in American life right now -- guns, immigration, and white supremacy.
Fair to say all the extremes on the three issues have been stoked and fanned by the current occupant of the White House. The Boston Globe editorial headline said it best: “The hypocrite in chief takes on domestic terror.”
Trump’s White House speech on Monday was an exercise in damage control, teleprompter Trump far different to campaign Trump. If he had an ounce of decency he would have said something like this: “I need to do much better. I accept my rhetoric and threats to immigrants have been damaging and given legitimacy to the monsters on the far right. I pledge to stop such rhetoric and work to better race relations to the best of my ability.”
The presidency is a powerful bully pulpit both for good and evil. There is no doubt on this occasion it has been used to incite hate and terror.
Indeed as presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native stated, "I mean, 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.”
That’s calling a spade a spade -- no equivocation, no holding back.
There are other clear examples. After the El Paso slaughter and the revelation of the killer’s manifesto, it was revealed that the Trump campaign has been flooding Facebook with similar messages, especially using the key world “invasion.”
Then there was a video of Trump recently castigating the U.S. visa lottery which allows foreign citizens to apply legally to come to the United States.
The keyword there is "legally," and the vetting for lottery visas is extremely strict which makes Trump's portrayal of lottery winners as murderers and rapists absurd and downright dangerous.
But Trump has clearly decided to go for the jugular in the next election and run on demonizing immigrants.
In order to do so, he must denounce those of brown skin just like those victims in El Paso.
Scumbag supremacists like the El Paso killer pick up the dog whistle from the president and decide to do their part to start a race war.
When the commander in chief has referred to Mexicans as killers and rapists, why wouldn’t that kind of language trickle down and create the kind of killing mentality that the El Paso murderer developed?
That’s why Trump’s speech condemning the killers and white nationalists was farcical and utterly meaningless.
It actually reminded us of Ian Paisley at his worst in the early days of the Northern Ireland Troubles, inciting violence and then condemning the useful fools who went out and committed murder in his name.
It is an amazing fact that despite 95 percent of Americans wanting background checks, such is the hold of the NRA on the Republican Party that will never happen as long as the GOP holds the Senate.
The one moment of hope was the clear statement from former President Obama, aiming a straightforward strike at his successor.
"We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don't look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people," Obama said.
Somewhere Abe Lincoln was nodding.