U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday proposed tighter monitoring of the internet, mental health reform and wider use of the death penalty in response to mass slayings over the weekend that killed 29 people in Texas and Ohio.
Trump said all Americans must "condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy" after the mass shootings.
As Trump spoke #WhiteSupremacistInChief topped the list of Twitter’s most trending hashtags. Trump also called for the death penalty for those who commit hate crimes and mass murders.
"Today, I'm also directing the Department of Justice to propose legislation ensuring that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty and that this capital punishment be delivered quickly, decisively and without years of needless delay," Trump said.
Trump, whose rhetoric has frequently been condemned as stoking racial divisions, laid out a number of policy options but did not mention his own past remarks.
"These sinister ideologies must be defeated," Trump said in remarks at the White House. "Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul."
On Saturday, a gunman killed 20 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in what authorities said appeared to be a racially motivated hate crime. Just 13 hours later, another gunman in downtown Dayton, Ohio, killed nine people.
Democrats, who have long pushed for greater gun control, said Trump was indirectly to blame for the attack in Texas, with some drawing connections between his rhetoric to a resurgence in nationalism and xenophobic sentiment.
Trump began his presidential campaign in 2015 by characterizing Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug smugglers and likened immigrants coming across the southern U.S. border to an "invasion."
At a rally in May in Panama City Beach in Florida's Panhandle region, he had asked the crowd how to stop immigrants, prompting someone to shout "Shoot them."Trump smiled as the audience applauded and said, "That's only in the Panhandle can you get away with that statement."
Police in El Paso cited a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto posted online shortly before the shooting, which they attributed to the suspect, Patrick Crusius, who drove to the city from his home near Dallas, as evidence that the bloodshed was racially motivated. Crusius was in custody on Monday, charged with capital murder.
The suspect in Dayton, Connor Betts, was killed by police after opening fire in an entertainment district. A motive in the that case not immediately evident.
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