As the United States continues to deal with the aftermath of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that left a combined 31 people dead and many more wounded, President Donald Trump has failed to rise to any position of any sort of meaningful leadership. Time he spent this past Wednesday at each of the two shooting sites devolved into him complaining on Twitter in between visits about being “bored” by media coverage, reportedly shouting at aides in anger over no one “defending” him, and getting photographed grinning with a thumbs-up sign in a photo op they set up with a baby whose parents were both gunned down in El Paso.
This week, members of a panel discussion on CNN’s New Day were among those to tear into the president for his disgraceful behavior, seeming to remain unable or just unwilling to take substantive steps to bridge gaps.
Former White House adviser Joe Lockhart began by discussing his time in the Clinton White House in comparison to Trump’s behavior. Considering Bill Clinton’s efforts to take the time to prioritize personally connecting with victim families after Columbine and other incidents, Lockhart shared of Trump:
‘It is really an unprecedented situation. I think we’ve become numb to the phenomenon of Donald Trump… There’s a big debate about whether he’s capable of it or just doesn’t want to do it. Who cares — it is his job! The video out of Dayton was sickening, it looked like a campaign ad, and it was all about how Donald Trump was well-received… While we’ve seen it all from Trump, we really should understand that this is a fundamental failure of Donald Trump as president of the United States.’
As Lockhart noted, many of those who’d been injured in the shootings didn’t even want to meet with Trump, and his team appears to have completely glossed over this and run full steam ahead with their Trump glorification campaign anyway.
Conservative CNN contributor Tara Setmayer chimed in after Lockhart to discuss Trump’s enablers, like Fox News host Tucker Carlson who got on national television after the shootings and insisted that the rise of white supremacy is a “hoax.” To be clear, the El Paso shooter killed 22 people in an immigrant community after posting a manifesto online with the exact same rhetoric that Trump has used, complaining about a supposed “immigrant invasion.” But Carlson wants us to think that’s a hoax — even as FBI Director Christopher Wray himself tells Congress that the vast majority of recent domestic terror arrests have been white supremacy-related.
As Setmayer noted, discussing Trump’s behavior in light of an anecdote about one child orphaned by the El Paso massacre wondering out loud whether they would be next:
‘People that support him seem to be okay with that, they make excuses for it… These are the kinds of heartbreaking stories that we’re hearing from these massacres, and the president of the United States is standing there in a photo with a thumbs-up? These people owe everyone who’s ever been a victim of these kinds of shootings an apology, because they disrespect the memory of the people who lost their lives by being so flippant about it. Making campaign videos? Complaining about crowd sizes? It’s disgraceful! And the people who justify this, they’re just as bad.’
There’s no clear indication that Trump or his allies will take this criticism to heart, however. After criticism began to emerge of his behavior during the visits to mass shooting sites, Trump got on Twitter to complain about “fake news” and brag about how supposedly well he was received.
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