This week, President Trump is in Asia on the largest scale trip of any U.S. president to the area since the George H.W. Bush era.
The beginning of his trip to Asia was marked by a mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. In that incident, a former member of the Air Force with a history of domestic violence opened fire on a church congregation that his in-laws were associated with. He killed 26 people, many of whom were children.
Following this incident, the predictable backlash against the GOP’s incessant refusal to do anything on issues of gun safety came into focus yet again. Congressional Republicans continue to offer “thoughts and prayers” while refusing to re-examine our nation’s gun laws.
Over 13,000 people have died this year from gun violence in the United States, a number that dwarfs the rate of gun violence in virtually every other major Western country.
It’s not as though any of this is normal or unable to be addressed — and yet here we are, with a Republican Congress refusing to act on gun safety.
The members of the Republican-controlled Congress are not alone in their commitment to doing nothing. Speaking at a press conference this Tuesday alongside the president of South Korea, Trump insisted not only that having stricter gun safety regulations wouldn’t have stopped the Sutherland Springs shooting, but he also insisted that having stricter gun safety regulations would have resulted in “hundreds more” fatalities.
Answering a question from a reporter seeking to apply the same standard to prospective gun owners Trump wants to apply to immigrants, Trump said:
‘If you did what you’re suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago, and you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck go out and shoot him, and hit him and neutralize him.’
To start with, that’s not necessarily correct. Nobody who wants stricter gun safety measures wants reasonable people like, say, the man who fired at Sutherland Springs shooter Devin Kelley to no longer be allowed to own firearms.
Trump’s further comments got even more ridiculous.
Without any apparent justification, Trump claimed that Kelley would have kept finding people to kill if he hadn’t been engaged by a civilian with a firearm.
The president continued:
‘And I can only say this: If he didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead. So that’s the way I feel about it. Not going to help.’
Again, there is no indication that what the president is saying is true. The shooter seemed to have been motivated by a domestic grievance against someone he believed was in the congregation that Sunday morning — that doesn’t mean he would have found more people to kill following his attack on the church. Trump’s argument here is baseless and pointless.
Through all of this, the main focus for Trump’s trip to Asia remains to address the ever-growing threat from North Korea’s nuclear arsenal.
His own actions have helped to increase that threat, with his incessant hostile rhetoric giving the North Koreans an excuse to continue developing their nuclear arsenal.
The development of their nuclear arsenal has included the test of an item the dictatorship claims is a nuclear weapon capable of sitting atop an intercontinental ballistic missile.
If Trump can’t even address the very real threat of gun violence in the U.S., how can he be expected to effectively address the threat of North Korea?
Featured image via screenshot from the video.