Minutes before the El Paso Walmart shooter– a 21-year-old white male from Collin County– began his killing spree, he posted a 2,300-word manifesto that seemed to draw direct inspiration from President Trump, who on Monday, offered crocodile tears to victims in a national address.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” Trump read from prepared remarks on a teleprompter. Later in the address, he blamed social media, video games (a favorite of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s to explain away gun violence) and mental health for what happened over the weekend.
Despite Trump’s posturing, Democrats and some Republicans remain skeptical that the president, who half of voters believe is racist, is the right messenger to offer condolences considering his lengthy record of divisive policies, behaviors, and statements.
“Donald Trump is unfit to lead our nation. His words could not be more hollow,” presidential hopeful Julián Castro of Texas tweeted Monday reacting to the president’s address. “[Trump] says ‘we must condemn racism, bigotry and white nationalism’—but often serves as their national spokesperson.”
In an interview with reporters on Sunday, former El Paso Congressman and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said the media should “connect the dots about what he’s doing in this country.”
“He’s not tolerating racism, he’s promoting racism,” O’Rourke said. “He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”
While the shooter’s manifesto mentions Trump by name twice (both times to insist that he was not inspired by the president), the document still holds similarities to the rhetoric of Trump’s tweets and speeches.
“This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” wrote the shooter. “They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”
“You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” Trump told supporters at a rally last year. “That is an invasion!”
Photo by Evan Vucci/AP