Donald Trump vowed “to act with urgent resolve” on Monday morning following a weekend in which mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio left 29 people dead.
“Our nation is overcome with shock, horror and sorrow,” the president said during remarks at the Diplomatic Room of the White House.
“These barbaric slaughters are an assault upon our communities, an attack on our nation, and a crime against all of humanity,” he added.
The gunman in El Paso is believed to be a white nationalist who authorities think may have posted a racist and anti-immigrant manifesto on the online message board 8chan shortly before opening fire on shoppers in a local Walmart. The gunman in Dayton has not been linked with any political ideology.
“In one voice our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump said. “Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart, and devours the soul.”
In the wake of the deadly attacks, Democrats faulted Trump for using divisive rhetoric that dehumanizes immigrants and people of color. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for president who represented El Paso in Congress for six years, explicitly condemned the president.
“He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism,” O’Rourke said. “He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”
At the same time, Trump is facing pressure to act from some members of his own party. Former Ohio Governor John Kasich said the federal government should consider instituting a “red flag law,” which allow authorities to seize a person’s firearms if they have social media posts indicating they are unstable, and the Rupert Murdoch owned New York Post, a conservative tabloid, urged President Trump to embrace an assault weapon ban. Other lawmakers had a different response, with Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick blaming violent video games and a lack of prayer in schools for the shootings.
In his remarks, Trump also placed blame on violent video games for inspiring killers and on the internet for providing a forum for hate speech. The president vowed to find bipartisan solutions to gun violence, but did not offer many specifics about what actions should be taken.
On Monday morning, the president suggested that tougher gun control laws such as more extensive background checks could be combined with “desperately needed immigration reform.” But he also returned to a familiar punching bag, accusing the media of sowing discord.
“Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years,” Trump tweeted. “News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”
President Trump took no questions following his remarks.