President Trump aide Mick Mulvaney: ‘No politician is to blame’ for mass shootings

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended President Donald Trump in the wake of two consecutive mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend.

Trump “wants to do something about this just as much as anyone else,” Mulvaney said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding that “no politician is to blame” for the violence.

The president, Mulvaney said, is “sad” and “angry” about the shootings.

At least nine people were killed and 27 injured in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning, officials said ― the second horrific slaughter in America in less than 24 hours. At least 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, and police are investigating whether the suspected gunman, who was arrested at the scene, posted a racist manifesto on social media that showed a hatred of Hispanic people.

The two shootings occurred less than a week after a gunman opened fire at a garlic festival in Northern California, killing three people, including two children. 

Democratic presidential candidates laid part of the blame for the bloodshed on Trump, accusing him of inciting violence with his anti-immigrant rhetoric.

12 PHOTOS9 killed in Ohio in second mass shooting within 24 hoursSee Gallery9 killed in Ohio in second mass shooting within 24 hoursAuthorities work the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Shoes are piled outside the scene of a mass shooting including Ned Peppers bar, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Authorities work the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. A several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Authorities work at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Authorities work at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Bodies are removed from at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Autoridades trabajando en el lugar de un tiroteo masivo, el domingo 4 de agosto de 2019 enDayton, Ohio.(AP Foto/John Minchillo)Bodies are removed from at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Witnesses comfort one another at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks during a news conference regarding a mass shooting earlier in the morning, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. At least nine people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Bodies are removed from at the scene of a mass shooting, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Shoes are piled outside the scene of a mass shooting including Ned Peppers bar, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. Several people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)Up Next

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“He is a racist, and he stokes racism in this country,” former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas said Saturday. “It does not just offend our sensibilities; it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”

O’Rourke is an El Paso native and his district included the city.

Another of the White House contenders, Julián Castro, said Sunday that “anybody who has the ability to see and hear what the president has been doing … knows that division and bigotry and fanning the flames of hate has been his political strategy.”

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, who served in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, made his comments on “This Week” in a separate appearance from Mulvaney’s.

Asked about the president’s rhetoric on the program, Mulvaney argued more needed to be done to address the connection between mass violence and social media. At least a third of white extremist killers since 2011 were inspired by others who perpetrated similar attacks, often facilitated by the internet, according to a recent analysis from The New York Times.

“I hate to draw attention to the manifesto, but if you actually go and look at it, what the guy says is that he’s felt this way a long time before Donald Trump got elected president. This was a sick person,” the former Republican congressman from South Carolina said.

31 PHOTOSEl Paso shooting leaves 20 dead, more than two dozen injuredSee GalleryEl Paso shooting leaves 20 dead, more than two dozen injuredLaw enforcement from different agencies work the scene of a shootingat a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)Law enforcement work the scene of a shootingat a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)Police tape strung across an intersection behind the scene of a shootingat a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)An El Paso police officer talks to a store employee following a shootingat a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)Law enforcement officers make their way along a walkway to the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Several people were killed in the shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town.(AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)People walk out of an elementary school after family members were asked to reunite following a shootingat a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)An El Paso police officer checks vehicles along a roadway near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Several people were killed in the shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)Ambulances stage in the parking near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Several people were killed in the shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town.(AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stage along a street near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Several people were killed in the shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town.(AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers gather near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)People walk into an elementary school to look for loved ones near the site of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Several people were killed in the shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town.(AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)A law enforcement officer walks near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)Law enforcement officers arrive near the scene of a shooting at a shopping mall in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Several people were killed in the shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town.(AP Photo/Rudy Gutierrez)A police officer stands outside a home in Allen, Texas, believed to be associated with a mass shooting at a busy shopping area in the border town of El Paso, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Jake Bleiberg)Agentes de varias corporaciones se presentan en el lugar donde se registró un tiroteo en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas, el sábado 3 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/Rudy Gutierrez)Agentes de varias corporaciones se presentan en el lugar donde se registró un tiroteo en un centro comercial de El Paso, Texas, el sábado 3 de agosto de 2019. (AP Foto/Rudy Gutierrez)Edie Hallberg, left, speaks with police officers outside the Walmart store as she’s looking for her missing mother Angie Englisbee, 87, who was in the store during the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)Edie Hallberg cries while speaking to the police outside the Walmart store as she’s looking for her missing mother Angie Englisbee, 87, who was in the store during the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)Texas state police cars block the access to the Walmart store in the aftermath of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. Multiple people were killed and one person was in custody after a shooter went on a rampage at a shopping mall, police in the Texas border town of El Paso said. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)An El Paso Police officer stands guard outside a Walmart store in the aftermath of a deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A young gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping area during the busy back-to-school season, leaving multiple people dead and more than two dozen injured. (AP Photo/John Locher)People embrace during a vigil for victims of the shooting Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A young gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping area during the busy back-to-school season, leaving multiple people dead and more than two dozen injured. (AP Photo/John Locher)People attend a vigil for victims of the shooting Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. A young gunman opened fire in an El Paso, Texas, shopping area during the busy back-to-school season, leaving multiple people dead and more than two dozen injured. (AP Photo/John Locher)Melody Stout and Hannah Payan comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting that occurred earlier in the day at a shopping center, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)People gather in Juarez, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in a vigil for the 3 Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shopping-complex shooting. Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, the state’s governor said. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)People gather in Juarez, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in a vigil for the 3 Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shopping-complex shooting. Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, the state’s governor said. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)From left, Samuel Lerma, Arzetta Hodges and Desiree Quintanar attend a vigil for victims of the deadly shooting that occurred earlier in the day at a shopping center Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)People gather in Juarez, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in a vigil for the 3 Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shopping-complex shooting. Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, the state’s governor said. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)People gather in Juarez, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in a vigil for the 3 Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shopping-complex shooting. Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, the state’s governor said. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)A police officer stands in the doorway to a Walmart where a gunman opened fire in a shopping complex Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, in El Paso, Texas. (AP Photo/John Locher)A woman sits next to a sign with a message that reads: ¨No More Guns! Make Love¨, in Juarez, Mexico, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, where people are gathering for a vigil for the 3 Mexican nationals who were killed in an El Paso shopping-complex shooting. Twenty people were killed and more than two dozen injured in a shooting Saturday in a busy shopping area in the Texas border town of El Paso, the state’s governor said. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)Up Next

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“Are we going to talk about the role of guns? Certainly, we are. But to think that this is just a gun issue that many people make it out to be is not right,” he added.

But Democrats said the mass shooting once again underscored the need for new laws tightening gun control.

Earlier this year, the Democratic-controlled House passed a bill requiring background checks on all firearm sales in the country. But the measure has languished in the Republican-controlled Senate, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) unwilling to bring it to the floor for a vote.

In light of the shootings, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) urged his colleagues to return to Washington from their August recess and reconvene. Appearing on CNN, he said he hoped McConnell “would bring the Senate back tomorrow and pass the background check bill and send it to the president. The president must sign it. Period.”

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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