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Trump defends rhetoric as he visits Dayton, El Paso

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 7, 2019 - Duration: 02:21s

Trump defends rhetoric as he visits Dayton, El Paso

President Donald Trump on Wednesday traveled to El Paso and Dayton, the site of last weekend’s two deadly mass shootings that killed 31 people, even as critics accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.

Jonah Green reports.

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Trump defends rhetoric as he visits Dayton, El Paso

President Donald Trump on Wednesday traveled to El Paso and Dayton, the site of last weekend’s two mass shootings that killed 31 people, even as critics accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.

Leaving the White House Wednesday, Trump defended his choice of words.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: “I think my rhetoric brings people together.” In Dayton, Ohio, the president was greeted by supporters and detractors alike as he toured a local hospital to meet with victims out of the public eye.

Dayton's mayor expressed relief that Trump didn't visit the site of the shootings.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DAYTON MAYOR NAN WHALEY, SAYING "I think a lot of people that own businesses in that district aren't interested in the president being there.

A lot of times his talk can be very divisive and that's the last thing we need in Dayton." Ahead of his visit to El Paso, a heavily Hispanic border town grieving from the attack , some of the president's critics, like Former Texas congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, urged him to stay home.

O'Rourke tweeting that Trump “helped create the hatred that made Saturday's tragedy possible.” The president Tuesday tweeted that O'Rourke should “be quiet” and accused him of changing his name to sound more Hispanic.

El Paso Police say 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, who opened fire inside an El Paso Walmart on Saturday killing 22 people, apparently posted a 4-page anti-immigrant screed online claiming the attack was an effort to halt what he called the "Hispanic invasion" of Texas.

A term President Trump has repeatedly used to describe immigrants at the southern border.

In a statement read Monday, Trump condemned racism.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING (MONDAY): "Hate has no place in America." Democratic rival and former vice president Joe Biden wasn't convinced.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CANDIDATE JOE BIDEN, SAYING: “His low energy, vacant-eyed mouthing of the words written for him condemning white supremacists this week I don't think fooled anyone." Biden used the occasion of Trump's visit to blast the president, saying he has embraced white supremacy and fanned the flames of racial divisions in this country.

Aboard Air Force One, Trump, in between meeting with victims of two massacres, tweeted: “Watching Sleepy Joe Biden making a speech.

Sooo Boring!”

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