Trump and the El Paso massacre

I wrote this comment for The Guardian.

Donald Trump continues to play his cynical game of dodging responsibility, shifting blame and exploiting tragedy. In a press conference called to address the horrors of two mass shootings in the United States over the past weekend, the president said nothing about his pivotal role in stoking fear and racism among certain segments of the population, said nothing about the fact that five of the 10 deadliest shootings in American history have happened since 2016, the fact that he has become a figurehead in the dark underground of the global white nationalist movement.

Instead, Trump blamed the internet, blamed video games, blamed Congress and blamed “mental health issues”. By tying legislation for tougher gun laws to immigration reform, as he tweeted earlier, Trump also and by extension blamed immigrants, who themselves are the victims of the very racism that has been unleashed by this president.

With this ethical black hole of leadership and narcissistic exploitation of other people’s tragedy, Trump proves once again – as if we needed any more proof – that he is unfit for the office he occupies. But the tragedy is larger than his job. It’s also what he’s doing to our country.

How are we, the ordinary people of this country, supposed to go about our daily lives in this country any more? The victims in Ohio were doing nothing but enjoying themselves before they were gunned down. The killed and wounded in El Paso were doing nothing but back-to-school shopping.

Nor does it stop there. Last April, people were terrorized in Poway, California, when a shooter entered their synagogue as they were celebrating Passover and began firing. And at least since last March, when a suspected white supremacist stormed two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people, American Muslims have congregated more nervously, increasing security at their mosques around the country. If you think the New Zealand connection is far afield from the American context, note that both the alleged Poway and El Paso shooters referenced the New Zealand shooter directly and favorably in their own manifestos.

Read the rest here.

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