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  • U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on U.S. and China trade negotiations at the Governors' Ball, in the State Dining Room of the White House, in Washington, U.S., Feb. 24, 2019.

    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on U.S. and China trade negotiations at the Governors' Ball, in the State Dining Room of the White House, in Washington, U.S., Feb. 24, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 August 2019

Donald Trump also urged both political parties to pass legislation for gun background checks, as part of an anti-immigration bill. 

U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that his country must "condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy" after a gunman killed 20 people in an attack in Texas that authorities said appeared to be a racially motivated hate crime.

Trump did not directly address accusations that his anti-immigrant and racially charged comments have contributed to a rise in hate crimes.

"These sinister ideologies must be defeated," he said in remarks at the White House. "Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul."

Trump said he was directing the Department of Justice to investigate domestic terrorism and propose legislation to ensure that those who commit hate crimes and mass murders face the death penalty.

Earlier in the day in a series of tweets, Trump called on lawmakers to pass strong gun background checks after two mass while seeking to blame the nation's rising violence and divisions on the media, dismissing accusations that his very hate speech and divisive rhetoric against migrants and minorities might be contributing to the rise in white supremacists and attacks on vulnerable communities. 

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On Saturday, a gunman killed 20 people at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, in what authorities said appeared to be a racially-motivated hate crime. Just 13 hours later, another gunman in downtown Dayton, Ohio, killed nine people. Dozens were also wounded in both attacks.

Trump did not directly address accusations by critics about his anti-immigrant and racially charged comments, but in a series of early morning tweets reiterated his accusations of "fake news" and media bias.

"The Media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years," Trump wrote.

The far-right president spoke briefly to reporters Sunday as he returned to Washington after spending the weekend at his golf resort in New Jersey, telling reporters that "Hate has no place in our country, and we're going to take care of it."

On Monday, Trump appealed to both political parties and said the victims' should not "die in vain." He urged lawmakers to pass legislation requiring stricter screenings for gun buyers and possibly tie it to immigration, a top issue that has fueled his presidency and drawn criticism over his comments about migrants and others.

Congress, however, is adjourned on summer recess with U.S. lawmakers not scheduled to return to Washington until September.

It was not immediately clear what other action Trump planned to take or what remarks he would make later on Monday at the White House, where he is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. local time.

"Republicans and Democrats must come together and get strong background checks, perhaps marrying this legislation with desperately needed immigration reform. We must have something good, if not GREAT, come out of these two tragic events!" Trump wrote.

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill calling for universal background checks for gun buyers, and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to reconvene the chamber in an emergency session to pass the legislation.

Trump could also invoke his power under the Constitution to call back Congress.

The shootings have also reverberated onto the campaign trail for next year's presidential election, as Democrats seeking to regain control of the White House and Senate focused their outrage on Trump.

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