2020 presidential candidate Tim Ryan blamed President Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric for fueling the flames of white nationalism after a 21-year-old white male opened fire inside an El Paso Walmart on Saturday, killing 20 and injuring dozens more.
“The president, as has been said, throws jet fuel on these fires that are burning,” Rep. Ryan (OH-D) said on MSNBC Sunday.
“When I read that manifesto this morning a couple of times and it is like a trump rally,” Ryan said, referring to an anti-immigrant manifesto that used language similar to the rhetoric spouted by the president. “There are basically the same phrases in that manifesto that you would hear come out the president of the United States’ mouth. And that’s the most disgusting part about the whole thing.”
On CNN’s State of the Union, Ryan added: “The president isn’t just speaking to really smart people who are stable at his rallies, he’s speaking to the lowest common denominator, to where this jackass gets in a car and drives ten hours to go kill Latinos and Hispanics and Mexicans. Mostly Mexicans. I mean he’s creating a culture and an environment in which this stuff keeps happening.”
2020 presidential candidate Tim Ryan reacts to mass shootings in Texas and Ohio: “We’re so dysfunctional… We passed universal background checks in the House of Representatives. It’s sitting at Mitch McConnell’s doorstep right now and he needs to act on it…” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/NvB8uRsgUL
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) August 4, 2019
The El Paso shooter allegedly wrote a white nationalist, anti-immigrant manifesto ahead of the attack.
Federal authorities are investigating the manifesto which stated, in part, “In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
The reference in the manifesto, which had been circulating on the controversial message board 8Chan, was to mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, during Friday Prayer on March 15.
The shooting suspect later told investigators he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible, two law enforcement officials told ABC News.
Trump has repeatedly referred to groups of Central American migrants seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border to claim asylum in the United States as “caravans” and an “invasion.”
“This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” the president tweeted in October.
The suspects in last year’s mail-bomb scare and the mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue echoed some of the president’s rhetoric. The alleged Pittsburgh gunman, Robert Bowers, denounced the “third-world caravan” as a group of “invaders” in a social media post, reports The Hill.