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Obama addresses mass shootings in rare statement

President Barack Obama makes statement in the State Dining Room of the White House on the agreement reached with Iran on their nuclear program, Nov. 23, 2013. (Pete Souza/White House Archives)
August 05, 2019

Former President Barack Obama released a rare statement in response to the mass shootings over the weekend and concluded it with a subtle jab at President Donald Trump.

“We should soundly reject language coming of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racists sentiments; 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,” Obama said at the end of his statement.

Former presidents rarely make full statements, and do not issue criticisms against sitting presidents.

The statement’s language follows popular criticisms against Trump, which blame him for rhetoric that his opponents say fueled the hatred fostered by the perpetrators of nearly every mass shooting of his presidency.

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Obama denounced the gun violence and called on accountability for public officials.

“No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do. Every time this happens, we’re told that tougher gun laws won’t stop all murders; that they won’t stop every deranged individual from getting a weapon and shooting innocent people in public places. But the evidence shows that they can stop some killings. They can save some families from heartbreak,” Obama’s statement said.

“While the motivations behind these shootings may not yet be fully known, there are indications that the El Paso shooting follows a dangerous trend: troubled individuals who embrace racist ideologies and see themselves obligated to act violently to preserve white supremacy,” Obama continued.

Like Trump did in his remarks on Monday morning, Obama placed some of the blame on the internet for radicalizing the perpetrators of mass shootings, and called on the aid of law enforcement and internet companies to help find a solution.
President Trump called for Congress to act in passing “red flag” gun laws, which would allow courts to confiscate guns from anyone deemed a risk to themselves or others. He vowed “swift due process” in an effort to quell the concerns of gun rights advocates who say such laws infringe on the Second Amendment rights to bear arms along with the right to due process.
Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Monday afternoon that he has agreed on a bipartisan red flag gun proposal with Democrats, and added that Trump “seems supportive” of the proposal thus far.