With President Donald Trump set to address the nation Monday following mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend, lawmakers, commentators, and experts said it is past time to dispense with euphemisms and call racist attacks like the massacre in El Paso what they are: “Trump-inspired terrorism.”
“Trump has launched his 2020 re-election campaign this summer by doubling down on the theme of racial and ethnic division and anti-immigrant hysteria,” David Schanzer, professor at the Sanford School of Policy at Duke University and director of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian on Monday.
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“An extremist suspect fearful of Hispanics gaining political power in Texas decided to go kill as many Hispanics as possible at an El Paso Walmart. It is Trump-inspired terrorism yet again.”
—David Schanzer, Duke University
Schanzer was alluding to the racist “send her back” chant at a Florida rally that Trump provoked with his xenophobic attacks on Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.)—a Somali refugee—and other women of color in Congress.
“And as sure as the sun rises in the east, a mere month into this racially charged atmosphere,” wrote Schanzer, “an extremist suspect fearful of Hispanics gaining political power in Texas decided to go kill as many Hispanics as possible at an El Paso Walmart. It is Trump-inspired terrorism yet again.”
Mehdi Hasan, a columnist for The Intercept, echoed Schanzer on Sunday, writing that “we can no longer ignore Trump’s role in inspiring mass shootings.”
“Thanks to his hate-filled rhetoric, his relentless incitement of violence, and his refusal to acknowledge the surge in white nationalist terrorism,” wrote Hasan, “the president poses a clear and present danger to the people, and especially the minorities, of the United States.”
Social media users also tied Trump to the attack in El Paso, and the Twitter hashtag #TrumpsTerrorists trended on Sunday.
Texas authorities believe the El Paso shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, is the author of a racist manifesto that stated the planned massacre was “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
Trump, as numerous commentators pointed out, has repeatedly likened immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border to an “invasion” and described asylum seekers as criminals in speeches and tweets.
“People hate the word invasion, but that’s what it is,” the president told reporters in March.
The Washington Post on Sunday offered just a small sampling of the racist language Trump has deployed in recent months to gin up his supporters and channel dangerous hatred toward immigrants, religious minorities, and people of color:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, implored Trump to “stop [his] racist, hateful, and anti-immigrant rhetoric.”
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