President Donald Trump has received strong criticism for his response to the shooting in Texas a week ago, in addition to those he provoked after other crises such as the New York attack or the violence in Charlottesville.
Trump learned in Japan the news of the shooting last Sunday in Sutherland Springs, Texas, in which a young white man killed 26 people and wounded 20 in a church.
It was the third time in a little more than a month that the president had to console the nation in the midst of a tragedy, a few days after the jihad attack in New York, with eight dead and eleven wounded; and after the worst shooting in the history of the country, with 60 dead and more than 500 injured in Las Vegas.
Following each massacre, Trump did not mention the word “weapon” in any of his messages, although the opposition, numerous organizations and victims again called for greater control of access to firearms, especially automatic and semi-automatic weapons, capable of causing enormous damage.
He repeated the classic republican message after each shooting, “thoughts and prayers” with the victims and called for national unity, while thanking the work and efforts of emergency response teams.
However within a press conference not to long ago, asked was asked if a better or tougher control of accessing such weapons would have prevented theses shootings, Trump not only denied the big time, but defended the possession of firearms by civilians as something positive.
“We have many mental health problems in our country, as other countries have. But this is not a weapons situation. I mean, we could get into that, but it’s a bit too early to do it, “he said.
“But, fortunately, someone else had a gun that was firing in the opposite direction, otherwise it would have been much worse,” he added, referring to the neighbor who shot the attacker when he left the church.
Trump’s refusal to talk about weapons “too soon” clashes with the immediacy with which he ruled that the Texas and Las Vegas shooter were “mentally ill” or how quickly he blamed a migratory program for the jihad attack in NY.
While the president did not offer any proposal to avoid a new mass shooting, he did hurry to ask to eliminate the visa lottery that the New York attacker had benefited from, for which he even asked for the death penalty for that killer, in a tweet .
Since last summer these tragedies, the neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville Virginia, and the devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean, Florida and Texas, have put Trump’s ability to serve as the nation’s “chief comforter” to the test. A role in which his predecessor Barack Obama was praised, for his empathy and sensitivity.
During his visit to Puerto Rico back in October, which for many came late, Trump said the devastating passage of two hurricanes on the island was not “a real catastrophe” as compared to Katrina, and even dared to compare the number of deaths of both natural disasters.
Shortly thereafter, he raised a new wave of indignation by throwing rolls of kitchen paper at a group of citizens in a visit to a church, telling them they would no longer need lanterns because of the “great work” of their Government, however, even today, a good part of the island is still without lights.
Also in Puerto Rico when Trump criticized the mayor of San Juan, who fought hand in hand with neighbors in the flooded streets to help those affected by the hurricane.
But none of his responses to the crisis was as rejected as the one he did after the violence in Charlottesville, when a neo-Nazi demonstrator ran an anti-racist counter-march with his vehicle, killing a young girl and wounding 19 other people.
The country expected an unequivocal condemnation of its president from the supremacist groups, but what Trump said was that there was “violence and hatred” in “many forms”, a message that he reaffirmed three days later despite the very strong criticism.