The Latest On The El Paso Shooting: Trump Visits Shooting Survivors In El Paso | KERA News

The Latest On The El Paso Shooting: Trump Visits Shooting Survivors In El Paso

Aug 7, 2019

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump visited the University Medical Center of El Paso, visiting with survivors of the weekend shooting that killed 22 people.

The presidential motorcade arrived at the hospital under tight security. Law enforcement officers toted long guns and some had riot gear.

A rally protest to fight white supremacy and demand gun control was planned.

Some Democrats and residents of El Paso say Trump's fiery rhetoric has fostered the kind of anti-immigrant hatred that could have contributed to Saturday's attack. The suspected gunman apparently wrote an anti-Hispanic rant before the attack.

Elsewhere in El Paso, speaking to several hundred people, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said immigrants had made El Paso one of the safest cities in America, before Saturday's shooting.

President Donald Trump arrived in Texas, the site of one of two weekend shooting rampages that left more than 30 people dead in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, and spawned calls for gun legislation.

As happened earlier Wednesday in Dayton, Trump was being greeted by protesters demanding gun-control reform and an end to caustic rhetoric — including some from the president — that is believed to be contributing to a culture of violence in America.

During the flight from Dayton to El Paso, Trump tweeted photos of he and first lady Melania Trump visiting wounded patients at a hospital. Trump posed for photos with medical staff and spoke with law enforcement officials, giving a "thumbs up" in one.

Trump tweeted, "The people I met in Dayton are the finest anywhere!"

Police in El Paso say the man charged in a weekend mass shooting that left 22 dead surrendered with his hands up to an officer on a motorcycle before he was taken into custody.

El Paso police spokesman Sgt. Enrique Carrillo said Tuesday that Patrick Crusius stopped a Honda Civic, got out with hands raised and told the officer he was the shooter. Carrillo said it happened about a quarter mile from the Walmart that was the scene of the attack.

Carrillo said the officer Crusius surrendered to was helping to keep guard at a crime scene perimeter. The spokesman said another motorcycle officer, a patrol sergeant and two Texas rangers came to assist.

Prior to Tuesday, police had said only that Crusius surrendered without incident.

The White House is inviting internet and technology companies for a roundtable discussion on violent extremism online.

The meeting to be held on Friday follows a pair of mass shootings that some believe were fueled by online violence and hate.

The White House did not immediately release the names of the companies invited to the meeting, which will be led by White House staff. President Donald Trump is not expected to attend.

Trump this week directed the Justice Department to work with online platforms and state and local governments to "develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike."

Some Republicans have blamed the shootings on video games and internet culture. Democrats point to Trump's rhetoric as fostering an environment of hate that led to violence.

In South Carolina, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says racism and white supremacy are "issues of national security."

The New Jersey senator didn't mention President Donald Trump by name on Wednesday but used some of the president's own words to call out the racism Booker says underlies much of the violence in the country, including recent attacks that killed 31 in El Paso and Dayton.

Booker said white supremacy "allows political leaders to promise to 'build the wall' — while not building hospitals, schools, or infrastructure." Trump has pushed to build a wall along the Mexico border.

Booker made his address in the sanctuary of Mother Emanuel AME, a historic South Carolina church where nine Bible study participants were slain in a 2015 racist attack.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is defending his incendiary rhetoric in the wake of two mass shootings.

Trump said while leaving the White House on Wednesday to visit Ohio and Texas that he doesn't think his rhetoric has contributed to violence, even though some of his words mirror language linked to one of the weekend's shooters.

The Republican president says, "No, I don't think my rhetoric has at all." He claims his rhetoric "brings people together."

Democrats vying to challenge Trump in the 2020 election have been nearly unanimous in excoriating Trump for rhetoric they say nurtured the racist attitudes of the El Paso shooter.

Trump also says he is "concerned about the rise of any group of hate," whether it's white supremacy, "any other kind of supremacy" or anti-fascist groups.

Trump says he's going to "do something about it," but he doesn't say what.

He is claiming that there is a "very strong" political appetite in Congress for bipartisan legislation that would address background checks or some restrictions for gun users.

The House passed legislation in February that would require federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, including those sold online or at gun shows. Another bill allows an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases. The bills have languished in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Another bipartisan proposal is gaining momentum to create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt "red flag" laws to take guns away from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Trump told reporters as he left the White House that he has had "plenty of talks" with lawmakers. He claimed, "There's a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite, for background checks. And I think we can bring up background checks like we've never had before."

Earlier this week, Trump claimed he favored "strong background checks" but never provided details.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is attending an El Paso community rally timed to serve as counterprogramming to President Donald Trump's visit.

An El Paso native, O'Rourke will address the #ElPasoStrong event at a park Wednesday afternoon, during Trump's visit. O'Rourke is also attending a morning remembrance at a high school and making an evening visit to a makeshift memorial outside the Walmart where a gunman killed 22 people.

In February, during a packed Trump rally in El Paso supporting a U.S.-Mexico border wall, O'Rourke drew thousands with his own counter speech across the street.

Trump tweeted that he had "trounced" O'Rourke at those dueling February events, adding that O'Rourke should respect victims and law enforcement and "be quiet."

O'Rourke tweeted: "El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I."

President Trump's plan to carry a message of national unity and healing to the sites of the most recent mass shootings in America is drawing skepticism from some local residents as well as Democratic candidates.

Trump is expected to visit Dayton on Wednesday morning and El Paso in the afternoon to praise first responders and console family members and survivors. A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, says Trump also wants to have a conversation about ways to head off such violence in the future.

Critics of the president point to his own divisive language and his anti-immigrant rhetoric that sounds much like that of the El Paso gunman. Some go so far as to say he has helped to create the hatred that made the shootings possible.