On Monday morning, President Donald Trump gave a speech at the White House about the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton which was so at odds with everything he has said and done throughout his political career that it might as well have been coming from an alternate universe.
Using the halting somber tones he incongruously adopts when reading off a Teleprompter after mass tragedies, Trump—who tossed off some equally vapid remarks about the killings on Sunday—plodded through all the phrases presidents are expected to deploy at times like these. There was “overcome with shock, horror, and sorrow.” There was “praying and grieving for the victims.” There was condemnation of “barbaric slaughters” by “wicked” people.
“America weeps for the fallen,” Trump said in a monotone. For someone who had, just hours earlier, ranted about the “fake news” media helping cause these atrocities, it felt more than a little hollow.
Then, Trump turned to the issues of white supremacy and gun control—two areas in which he has less than no credibility.
“In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” said the man who laughed when a person at one of his rallies suggested shooting immigrants.
“Hate has no place in America,” said the man who happily oversaw chants of “Send her back!” about a black woman he doesn’t like.
“Our nation has watched with rising horror and dread as one mass shooting has followed another,” said the man who has spent years in the pocket of the NRA.
Trump soon returned to the usual Republican nonsense about guns, which made it clear that there can be no expectation he will actually, you know, do something about them.
“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” he said, failing to note that if there is no gun, there is no trigger to pull. He also vowed to do something about—you guessed it—video games.
To top everything off, he then praised the people of Toledo, which is a different Ohio city from Dayton, where the massacre actually happened. Cool.
It’s hard to know which version of Trump is worse—the white supremacist who lies about hating white supremacy, or the avowed enemy of all solutions to gun violence who trots out the same banal idiocy that the NRA always wants him to. On second thought, why choose? Here’s the speech.