CNN’s Jake Tapper Calls Out GOP Leaders For Rejecting Interviews After Shootings

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Several Republican officials declined to appear on the network after 29 people were killed in less than 24 hours in Texas and Ohio.

In the aftermath of two shootings in Texas and Ohio that all told killed 29 people in less than 24 hours, Republican leaders declined CNNrequests to talk on air about the mass slayings that increasingly plague America.

During his Sunday morning “State of the Union” broadcast, host Jake Tapper listed several GOP officials who rejected requests to appear on the program ― Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

“We also asked the White House to provide someone to discuss these shootings,” Tapper added. “That request, too, was declined.” 

The refusals come just after at least 20 people were killed Saturday in an El Paso Walmart where the suspected gunman, a 21-year-old white male, may have been targeting Hispanic people, based on a white supremacist manifesto published online shortly before the attack. Authorities are treating the shooting as a domestic terrorism case and prosecutors said Sunday they will seek federal hate crime charges against the man.

In the early hours of Sunday morning, at least 9 people were killed in Dayton’s downtown Oregon district by a 24-year-old white male who was killed by police. The victims included the shooter’s younger sister.

Close to 60 people were injured in the two massacres, many critically.

Several Democratic presidential candidates appeared on CNN Sunday to condemn the failure of GOP lawmakers to back stricter gun control measures that regularly are proposed after mass shootings but rarely advance.

The Democrats also decried President Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric, which much of the GOP either has been slow to renounce or silent about.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), an El Paso native, has been especially vocal among his party’s White House hopefuls, demanding on Sunday that the public “acknowledge the hatred, the open racism that we’re seeing” in light of the violence that unfolded in his state.

“We see it on Fox News, we see it on the internet, but we also see it from our commander in chief,” he told Tapper. “He is encouraging this. He doesn’t just tolerate it, he encourages it.” 

Presidential candidates Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California and Bernie Sanders of Vermont also rebuked the president’s bigotry, as did South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He told Fox News that the El Paso shooting is an example of “white nationalist terrorism” and that in Washington “white nationalism” has been “condoned at the highest levels.” 

Despite indications the El Paso gunman embraced white supremacy and racial hatred, Abbott focused on mental health in his response to the deadly rampage, speculating at a press conference on Saturday that it is “a component ... probably ... to any type of shooting that takes place.”

In a separate statement, the governor, a favorite of the National Rifle Association, showed no signs he would be addressing the easy access to guns in his state and much of America.

“I think we need to focus more on memorials before we start the politics,” he said.

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Mass Shooting In Dayton, Ohio, Leaves At Least 9 Dead, 16 Injured

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Police said the shooter was also killed at the scene. The attack happened mere hours after a deadly mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

At least nine people were killed and 16 injured in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday morning, police said.

Dayton Police Lt. Col. Matt Carper said a person, wielding a long gun, opened fire in the city’s Oregon District at around 1 a.m. The shooter was killed at the scene by multiple officers.

There was a “very short timeline of violence,” Carper said.

The gender and identity of the shooter were not released. Additional information about the victims was also not immediately available. 

Carper said the shooter was believed to have acted alone, however, he said police ― with the help of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation ― were also probing the possibility that other individuals were involved. 

Police have asked anyone with information about the attack to come forward:

The Oregon District is a historic area in Dayton with a vibrant bar and restaurant scene. Eyewitness videos appeared to show people running through the neighborhood’s streets early on Sunday as a rapid popping noise ― apparently gunfire ― disturbed the air. 

Police said the attack occurred on the 400 block of East 5th Street. Two neighboring bars on that block ― Ned Peppers and Hole In The Wall ― penned matching notes on Facebook on Sunday: “All of our staff is safe and our hearts go out to everyone involved as we gather information,” the notes read. 

The Dayton Convention Center, located a short walk from the two bars, was opened for family members and friends of anyone injured or killed in the shooting, according to Dayton 24/7 Now.

The attack in Dayton came hours after at least 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and less than a week after a gunman opened fire at a garlic festival in California, killing three people including two children. 

According to USA Today, the El Paso massacre marked the 250th mass shooting in the United States in 2019.

On Saturday evening, WDTN, the NBC affiliate in Dayton, posted an article about local law enforcement offering a class on “lifesaving techniques for mass shootings.”

″[You should] at least prepare yourself because if you’ve never thought about [a shooting] before it happens, once it happens it’s too late. You’re going to panic. You’re going to lose the precious seconds of timing that you need to escape,” John Davis, Centerville police’s community relations officer, told the station.

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‘Gun Rights’ Fan Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Turns Focus To Mental Health After El Paso Attack

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Abbott once tweeted that he was “embarrassed” California was buying more guns than Texas. “Pick up the pace, Texans,” he urged.

Ardent “gun rights” supporter Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott tried desperately Saturday to focus on shooters’ “mental health” issues instead of issues such as easy access to assault rifles at a press conference following the mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart that left at least 20 people dead.

Abbott once boasted he was “embarrassed” that Texas was second to California in gun sales. He insisted Saturday that the state legislature passed “bill after bill after bill” to protect students from school shootings after eight teenagers and two teachers were fatally shot last year at Santa Fe High School in Texas. One of the bills Abbott signed into law involved arming more teachers. None of the bills involved increased gun control.

Abbott acknowledged that “we did not, as far as I know, evaluate for and plan for an incident like this,” referring to the Walmart shooting. (Watch his comments in the video above beginning at 21:36.)

“That said, I can tell you that perhaps the most profound and agreed-upon issue that came out of” legislative hearings on the school shootings was the “need for the state and for society to do a better job of dealing with challenging mental health-based issues,” Abbott added. “We know that’s a component ... probably ... to any type of shooting that takes place.” Abbott said funding has been provided “for the state to better address” mental health issues. 

Police have identified the gunman at Walmart as 21-year-old Patrick Crucius, but have said nothing about his mental health. Police and the FBI are investigating a hate-fueled anti-immigrant “manifesto” that may be linked to Crucius, authorities revealed at the press conference.

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) spoke up immediately after Abbott at the press conference and said the suspected manifesto suggested that hate was the actual driving force behind the violence. “The manifesto narrative is fueled by hate, and it’s fueled by racism and bigotry and division,” she said.

Abbott also said Saturday that “Texas grieves” — and asked for prayers. He later angrily snapped at reporters that it was too soon to focus on the “politics” of gun control while “there are bodies” still to be recovered. “I think we need to focus more on memorials before we start the politics,” he added.

Abbott is a favorite of the National Rifle Association, which recently hailed ten pro-gun laws the governor has signed this year. “Governor Greg Abbott has now signed all of the NRA-supported legislation which the Texas Legislature sent him during the 2019 session,” an NRA web site boasted.

In June Abbott vetoed a bill by his legislature making it a state crime to bring guns into secure areas of airports.

His 2015 tweet encouraging Texans to “pick up the pace” by buying more guns was a particular target of several barbs Saturday.

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