WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Sunday weighed in on two mass shootings that occurred 13 hours apart in Texas and Ohio, acknowledging “perhaps more has to be done” to address gun violence.
“We’ve done actually a lot,” Trump told reporters of his administration’s work on the issue, “but perhaps more has to be done.”
Trump, who made the comments to reporters on a tarmac in New Jersey after a weekend spent at his golf club in Bedminster, has overseen a ban on so-called bump stocks, but has not pursued large-scale gun control efforts. His predecessor, President Barack Obama, took executive actions on gun control, including on background checks and mental health.
Early Sunday, a shooter opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people in the city’s Oregon District, a popular downtown area. The shooter was shot and killed by responding officers. Hours before on Saturday, a shooter opened fire at an El Paso, Texas, shopping center, killing at least 20 people. A 21-year-old white supremacist is in custody in the Texas domestic terrorism case.
Speaking broadly of the two recent mass shootings, Trump said, “I just want to say that these are two incredible places, we love the people.”
The President, who has regularly used incendiary language at rallies across the country, added, “Hate has no place in our country and we’re gonna take care of it.”
Praising law enforcement, Trump added that the massacres could have been worse. “It would have been unbelievable. It (was) horrible but it would have been so much worse,” he said.
Trump then said he would be making an official statement around 9 a.m. CT Monday on the mass shootings.
Earlier Sunday, Trump tweeted, “God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio,” and, separately, ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff as “a mark of solemn respect” for the victims of the tragedies.
Trump called the El Paso, Texas, shooting an “act of cowardice” on Saturday and said there “are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing people.”
The President also relayed earlier in a tweet that he had spoken with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, about the El Paso shooting and had offered the “total support” of the federal government to the state.
“Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people,” Trump tweeted Saturday night.
Trump ended his comments to reporters Sunday stating “on behalf of our first lady and myself, condolences to all. We have to get it stopped. This has been going on for years.”
Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown wrote in a tweet Sunday that “thoughts and prayers are not enough, we have a responsibility to act.”
“We are also angry — angry that shooting after shooting politicians in Washington and Columbus refuse to pass sensible gun-safety laws to protect our communities,” Brown said.