Shortly after news broke of yesterday’s mass shooting in Oregon, a number of Republican candidates shared their “thoughts and prayers” for the victims on Twitter, something both Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley and President Barack Obama said was “not enough.”
But while Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, called for more action on gun control in the aftermath of the horrific attack, and most Republicans avoided saying much of anything at all, Donald Trump took an entirely different approach during a Friday appearance on Morning Joe.
Asked what he would do to prevent incidents like this one if he were president, Trump said, “Well first of all, you have very strong laws on the books. But you’re always going to have problems. I mean, we have millions and millions of people. We have millions of sick people all over the world.”
“It can happen all over the world,” he continued, before contradicting himself within the space of one sentence. “And it does happen all over the world, by the way, but this is sort of unique to this country, the school shootings, and you’re going to have difficulty no matter what.”
Watch video below, via MSNBC:
Characterizing the issue as one that has more to do with “mental health” than guns, Trump said, “It’s awfully hard to put somebody in an institution for the rest of their lives based on the fact he looks like he could be a problem.” He then added, “You’re going to have these things happen and it’s a horrible thing to behold.”
Host Willie Geist pressed Trump to say whether he really believes that “some people are going to slip through the cracks and there’s not much you can do about it.” And, remarkably, the GOP frontrunner answered affirmatively.
“Well, you know, it’s not politically correct to say that but you’re going to have difficulty and that would be for the next million years, you’re going to have difficulty,” Trump answered, expressing an enormous degree of resignation on the issue of gun safety. “People are going to slip through the cracks and even if you did great mental health programs, people are going to slip through the cracks.”
“It’s the same old story. But what are you going to do? There are many people like that and what are you going to do? Institutionalize everybody?” he asked. “So you’re going to have difficulties. You’re going to have difficulties with many different things, not just this. That’s the way the world works — and by the way, that’s the way the world always has worked.”
So, essentially, Trump is saying that we are always going to have mass shooting events in this country and his solution is… do nothing? Contrast these remarks to those made by President Obama or Hillary Clinton following yesterday’s shooting.
Speaking from the White House Thursday afternoon, a visibly frustrated Obama said he refused to accept that this type of shooting event is the status quo in America. “Each time this happens, I’m going to bring this up,” he said. “Each time this happens, I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it.”
Similarly, Clinton promised action, as opposed to apathy, on gun violence. “It is just beyond my comprehension that we are seeing these mass murders happen again and again and again,” the Democratic frontrunner said. “And as I have said, we have got to get the political will to do everything we can to keep people safe.”
“You know, I know there is a way to have sensible gun control measures that help prevent violence, prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and save lives,” she added, “and I am committed to doing everything I can to achieve that.”
Watch video below, via AP:
There may be an argument to be had over the best solution to the epidemic of gun violence in America, but the posture of pure indifference put forward by Trump should not be an acceptable position for someone who wants to be president of the United States.
[Photo via screengrab]
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