President Trump addressed the nation Monday morning about the shooting in El Paso and Dayton that left at least 31 dead over the weekend. Squinting at a teleprompter, Trump spoke in monotone about the need to “condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy,” while blaming video games and the internet for the mass shooting epidemic in the United States. His speech was mechanical and ineffectual. Mistaking Dayton for Toledo didn’t help, either.
“May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo,” the president said amid a series vigorous nasal inhalations. “May God protect them.”
Wow: Trump says “May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo."
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) August 5, 2019
Rolling Stone reached out to the White House seeking clarification on the error, but did not receive an immediate response.
Trump’s address also include several vague calls for action regarding mental health, which, along with video games and the internet, was one of the factors Trump blamed for the shootings. In doing so, he made a point to note explicitly that he does not believe guns are to blame. “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” he said.
"We must stop the glorification of violence," Trump said, referencing what he called "gruesome and grisly video games" and blaming mental illness & "troubled youth" for the recent mass shootings.
"Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun," he continued pic.twitter.com/GKfiNJRRCu
— POLITICO (@politico) August 5, 2019
Though Trump mentioned the need to condemn white nationalism, hours before addressing the nation he used the shooting to promote immigration policy driven by a need to stifle what he has called an “invasion” of immigrants into the United States. The suspect of the massacre in El Paso on Saturday posted a manifesto online that used similar language while criticizing those who may “blame” Trump for the attack. Trump echoed this sentiment on Monday morning.
“The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country,” he tweeted. “Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years. News coverage has got to start being fair, balanced and unbiased, or these terrible problems will only get worse!”
This post has been updated.