President Donald Trump is expected to visit El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, this week after two shooting attacks last weekend killed more than 30 people.
Trump will visit El Paso Wednesday, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo said and FAA advisories indicate he will travel to Dayton the same day.
The visits would follow the president’s remarks Monday that called for changes to mental health laws to keep firearms out of the hands of persons who shouldn’t have them.
Margo, a Republican, said he will welcome a visit from Trump but also acknowledged he’s received messages of opposition from residents. He said Trump has been “very gracious” with his support and his focus remains on the community, not politics.
“He is the president of the United States,” Margo said. “So in that capacity, I will fulfill my obligations as mayor of El Paso, and hope that if we are expressing specifics that we can get him to come through for us.”
Twenty-two people died as a result of the attack Saturday at an El Paso Walmart. Two died Monday after two days in the hospital.
“We’re dealing with a tragedy of 22 people who have perished by the hateful, evil act of a white supremacist,” Margo said. “I don’t know how we deal with evil. I don’t have a textbook for dealing with it other than the Bible. I’m sorry. We are going through this. The president is coming out. I will meet the president. I guess for people who have a lot of time on their hands, I will deal with the emails and phone calls.”
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, an El Paso native who represented the city in the House, has faulted Trump for creating “hatred” that made the shooting attack possible. He also said Trump should not visit El Paso.
“This president, who helped create the hatred that made Saturday’s tragedy possible, should not come to El Paso,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter. “We do not need more division. We need to heal. He has no place here.”
The White House hasn’t officially confirmed Trump’s schedule or said whether he will visit Dayton, Ohio, where nine people were shot dead in an entertainment district early Sunday.
“I’ve heard that he’s coming Wednesday, but I have not gotten a call,” Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said.
“He might be going to Toledo. I don’t know,” he added, a reference to Trump misstating the location in his speech Monday.
Congressional lawmakers have been pressured to take swift action, and Democrats called for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to call the Senate back from recess for an emergency session to consider new gun legislation.
In a statement, McConnell vowed to “work in a bipartisan, bicameral way to address the recent mass murders which have shaken our nation.” He also said “Senate Republicans are prepared to do our part.” McConnell also said there is no rush.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the House has already passed a bill with stronger background checks, but McConnell has refused to let it reach the Senate floor.
Monday, former President Barack Obama issued a rare statement about the attacks and what he views as questionable leadership.
“First, no other nation on Earth comes close to experiencing the frequency of mass shootings that we see in the United States,” Obama wrote. “No other developed nation tolerates the levels of gun violence that we do.”
“We are not helpless here. And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening.
“Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations, these individuals may act alone, but they’ve been radicalized by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the Internet.”
Obama also called for tolerance of diversity.
“We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.”
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