Trump blamed for NZ-inspired attack
US President Donald Trump is facing a storm of criticism after two mass shootings over the weekend, one of which may have been inspired by the Christchurch mosque massacres.
Patrick Wood Crusius, 21, killed 20 and wounded 26 at a Walmart in the Texas border city of El Paso on Saturday. Less than 24 hours later, Connor Betts, 24, shot his sister and eight others in an entertainment district of Dayton, Ohio.
Police say they are investigating the Walmart attack as a possible hate crime and are treating the shooting as a case of domestic terrorism.
Crusius reportedly posted a message on website 8chan shortly before the shooting, expressing sympathy for the white supremacist-linked massacre at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, stating: "This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas."
Mr Trump has condemned the shootings, saying more action may need to be taken to prevent mass shootings in the US while blaming mental illness for fuelling the attacks.
"This has been going on for years … we have to get it stopped," Mr Trump told reporters in New Jersey.
"Perhaps more has to be done," he said, adding that "this is also a mental illness problem".
Mr Trump said he would make an announcement on Monday regarding the issue.
But Mr Trump is being blamed for stirring discontent about immigration, and many on Twitter said he had blood on his hands.
Trump responds to a mass shooting by playing golf and crashing a wedding. Obama responded by speaking to a heart broken nation with tears in his eyes. https://t.co/ODXRHUqtPA— Heather 🌊📢 #Khive2020 (@GundyGirl) August 4, 2019
Trump stopped by another wedding at Bedminster last night pic.twitter.com/38IEhTouFk— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) August 4, 2019
Presidents Obama and Bush would both have flown to El Paso and Dayton. Trump played golf.— Animal of politics (@PoliticalAnim13) August 4, 2019
Mr Trump has been outspoken against migrant arrivals, describing the arrival of immigrants at the US-Mexico border as an "invasion". Most recently he tweeted that four female politicians should "go back" to the "crime-infested places from which they came".
His opponents say his rhetoric is inflammatory, has stoked divisions in the country and could incite violence.
Saturday's shooting at Walmart appeared to target Hispanics, and Mexican officials say three Mexican nationals were killed and another six were wounded.
Ahead of the attack, Crusius posted a document online that expressed concern about an influx of Hispanics into the United States replacing ageing white voters, potentially handing the state of Texas to the Democrats as well as the presidency.
The border city where the shooting took place has figured prominently in the immigration debate and is home to 680,000 people, most of them Latino. El Paso is also a popular weekend shopping destination for Mexicans who live across the border in Ciudad Juarez.
Many, including actress Mia Farrow, took to Twitter to blame the rise of white supremacist violence on Mr Trump.
What did you think would happen as you relentlessly fan the flames of hated? You have some responsibility for this— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) August 4, 2019
Blood in your hands. BLOOD— Nuno Hipólito (@nunohipolito) August 4, 2019
You have inspired this hate and violence. This is what you’re promoting This young man was a soldier in your white supremacist-led war against people of color. And you were just praising your white supremacist compatriot, Steven Bannon yesterday.— Michelangelo Signorile (@MSignorile) August 3, 2019
You disgusting, hideous man.
This Guy is one of your flock. You are partly responsible for this happening because of your rhetoric.— I luv being Teamster (@JimKilbane) August 4, 2019
The president of a leading Hispanic group said politicians such as Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mr Trump must stop making anti-immigrant statements that he blamed for "costing the lives of innocent people."
Speaking in downtown El Paso on Sunday, League of United Latin American Citizens president Domingo Garcia said "unfortunately what we saw here was another massacre by again somebody using racial hatred as a basis to kill people of Mexican-American descent, and we need to stand up and fight against it".
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard says Mexico will take legal action to protect Mexicans and Americans of Mexican descent after the shooting in El Paso.
In a video statement, Mr Ebrard called the shooting an "act of barbarism" and said the country's first priority was attending to the impacted families. Next, he said, Mexico planned to seek legal measures to protect Mexican nationals and Mexican-Americans in the US.
US Democratic presidential candidates also sought to lay blame on Mr Trump, saying his language promoted racial division and violence.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said confronting white nationalist terrorism would be embarrassing for a president who "helped stoke many of these feelings in this country to begin with".
"At best, he's condoning and encouraging white nationalism," Mr Buttigieg said.
Senator Kamala Harris of California also found blame in Mr Trump's use of language, which she said had "incredible consequence".
"We have a president of the United States who has chosen to use his words in a way that have been about selling hate and division among us," she told reporters before attending services at a black church in Las Vegas.
The influence of the America's gun lobby, in particular the National Rifle Association, was also blamed for the violence.
Senator Bernie Sanders opened a town-hall meeting with a moment of silence and by calling for universal background checks for firearms purchases and more restrictions on assault weapons.
He urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call senators back to Washington, saying the Senate should "have a special session to address gun violence in America and let us finally have the courage to take on the NRA". He also called out the President.
"I say to President Trump, please stop the racist anti-immigrant rhetoric," he said. "Stop the hatred in this country which is creating the kind of violence that we see."
Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said the President was saddened and angry following the shootings and "wants to do something about it".
Mr Mulvaney called recent shootings a "difficulty" facing the US that "predates this administration by many, many years".
He said there should be some public discussion about gun laws as well as the role of social media but stressed the shooters in El Paso and Dayton were "sick" people, and that "no politician is to blame for that".
Former Texas congressman and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke said Mr Trump was a white nationalist.
"We've got to acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we're seeing," Mr O'Rourke said. "There's an environment of it in the United States. We see it on Fox News, we see it on the internet. But we also see it from our commander in chief, and he is encouraging this. He doesn't just tolerate it, he encourages it."