Neither President, it is painfully clear, can solve the problem of gun violence or racism in the United States, but it is in the aftermath of mass shootings like those in Ohio and Texas that the difference between America’s last President and its current one is most jarringly clear.
And while many Democrats want to lay blame for a racist’s rampage at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, at President Donald Trump’s feet — since police said they found an anti-immigrant document espousing white nationalist and racist views, which they believe was written by the suspect there — it is also true that racist shootings came before Trump, a point Trump was quick to point out Tuesday.
Former President Barack Obama broke his self-imposed political silence for an obliquely worded but directly aimed statement calling out his successor, issuing a four paragraph statement condemning racism and leaders who foster it.
“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,” he wrote in the statement, a rare break from his pledge to give Trump room to lead the country.
Obama did not name Trump, but there was zero mystery about who he was criticizing when he said Americans should reject 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.”
He went on: “Such language isn’t new — it’s been at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world. It is at the root of slavery and Jim Crow, the Holocaust, the genocide in Rwanda and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. It has no place in our politics and our public life. And it’s time for the overwhelming majority of Americans of goodwill, of every race and faith and political party, to say as much — clearly and unequivocally.
Trump, without mentioning the statement, responded Wednesday morning with a tweet quoting a Fox News personality.
” ‘Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of Control. Mass shootings were happening before the President even thought about running for Pres.’ @kilmeade @foxandfriends,” Trump wrote.
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