A viral video showed world leaders appearing to mock President Trump, a rising death toll in Iran and more.
President Trump addressed the nation Monday following mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, that left at least 31 people dead and dozens injured.
The motives of two gunmen, both white, are under investigation. Authorities say it’s too early to speculate. But it has been noted, in media reports and on social media, that at least eight of those who were killed at an El Paso shopping center were Mexican nationals. The suspect, Patrick Crusius, had posted a racist, anti-immigrant screed online not long before the massacre. And among those killed in the Dayton shooting, six of the nine were black.
Trump, in his brief televised address Monday, said, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”
The president denounced violent video games, warned of the “perils of the internet and social media” and called for mental health reform. But, as The New York Times notes, he did not propose broad gun control legislation desired by many Americans:
It seemed unlikely that Mr. Trump’s 10-minute remarks, coming after one of the most violent weekends in recent American history, would reposition him as a unifier when many Americans hold him responsible for inflaming racial division. He took no responsibility for the atmosphere of division, nor did he recognize his own reluctance to warn of the rise of white nationalism until now.
The Times (and other publications) noted something else missing from the president’s address: “that his own anti-immigrant rhetoric has become part of a national debate.”
Trump’s critics say his words and actions have fueled violence by white nationalists and other extremists. How should our leaders stand up to hate and violence? And what if our leaders are the ones inciting hate and violence in the first place?
We turn to experts who have studied the far right and white supremacist groups for answers.
- Heidi Beirich Director of The Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Kathleen Puckett Clinical psychologist who spent 23 years as an FBI Special Agent investigating cases of domestic and international terrorism
- Rich Benjamin Author "Searching For Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America"; anthropologist; contributing writer, The New Yorker; @IAmRichBenjamin
- Janet Reitman Contributing writer, New York Times Magazine; @janetreitman
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