Politicians responded en masse to the most recent mass shooting that occurred at a Texas movie theater on Saturday which left seven dead and another 22 injured, with President Donald Trump speaking on the shooting, proposing solutions to America’s ongoing gun violence problem from the south lawn at the White House Sunday afternoon.
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In August alone, 53 people lost their lives to mass shootings across the country.
While the West Texas killer’s name has yet to be publically released, Trump touched on the subject during Sunday’s press conference.
“A very sick person,” he called the weekend’s triggerman.
“As bad as it was, it could’ve been worse.”
Trump praised law enforcement and first responders, with three of Saturday’s shooting victims being police officers. “They did an incredible jobs under the circumstances”
“As strong as you make your background checks,” Trump said sometimes it doesn’t make a difference.
“Bills, ideas, and concepts,” he answered when asked about what his administratio was doing to address the latest gun violence incidents in the U.S., emphasizing bipartisan efforts on working towards that end.
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke did not mince words when asked about Saturday’s mass shooting on CNN’s "State of the Union" Sunday.
“This is f***** up” O’Rourke told Dana Bash. “We are averaging about 300 mass shootings a year. No other country comes close. So yes, this is f***** up. If we don’t call it out for what it is, don't speak clearly, we will continue to have this bloodshed in America and I cannot accept that,” he said. The presidential candidate added that “thoughts and prayers” have done nothing to curb the widespread mass shootings and gun violence in America.
Fellow Democratic presidential hopeful, former HUD Secretary and Texas-native Julián Castro outright questioned the sale of military-grade weaponry, claiming even the biggest second amendment supporters fail to see the necessity of such guns during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.
"Often times it's actually hunters and folks that shoot on a range that understand that you don't need these weapons of war, the AR-15 and other similar weapons. I think more and more, many of them get it," Castro said.
Acting United States Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan said the ongoing mass gun violence is "absolutely a homeland security threat," telling ABC's "This Week" that it’s “a priority for us that we set up new office including racially motivated violent extremism.”
McAleenan noted it was extraordinarily concerning that so many people were killed and injured in Saturday’s mass shooting, which began with a traffic stop in Midland, Texas just some 300 miles from El Paso, where 22 people were killed and another 24 injured at a Walmart on Aug. 3.
He noted that the Department of Homeland Security is working with several other federal agencies to make domestic terrorism as much as a focus resource-wise as international terrorist threats.
"That's a conversation we're having as an interagency team with the FBI, with the Office of Management and Budget, to see what the right resource level is going forward, to make sure we can continue our very strong focus on the international terrorism threat and prevention level we've achieved but also make sure we're balancing that out with effective efforts on domestic terrorism as well," McAleenan added.
Midland Police Chief Michael Gerke revealed that the victims who died in Saturday’s shooting ranged in age from 15 to 57 at a news conference Sunday, while the 22 wounded included a 17-month old child, who is expected to survive.