Following two mass shootings this weekend, the hashtag #TrumpsTerrorists trended on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, with thousands of Americans blaming President Donald Trump for allegedly encouraging violence against immigrants with his racial rhetoric.
A gunman, identified as 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, opened fire at a Walmart near the Cielo Vista Mall in El Paso, Texas on Saturday, leaving 20 dead and at least 26 others injured. Authorities told the Washington Post that they were investigating a manifesto, allegedly written by the shooter, that contains strong anti-immigration sentiments and sympathy for the Christchurch shooter, an Australian gunman involved in attacks on New Zealand mosques that left 49 dead earlier this year.
Hours later, on Sunday morning, a separate shooter killed nine in Dayton, Ohio.
Although the president denounced both shootings as “senseless attacks” and condemned “these hateful and cowardly acts,” 2020 Democratic candidates and various other politicians disagreed over whether Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants had encouraged the hate and violence in the El Paso shooting.
Trump “is a racist and he stokes racism in this country,” former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke said on Saturday. “And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence.”
Meanwhile, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney defended the president, saying the El Paso shooter “felt this way a long time before Donald Trump got elected president.”
Twitter users used the hashtag #TrumpsTerrorists on Sunday to weigh in on the issue, with thousands condemning the president for allegedly inciting violence and some defending him.