President Donald Trump, currently on a 13-day, five-country tour through Asia, reacted to the shooting in a Texas church that has left 26 dead and many more injured from Japan. Trump’s response focused on overcoming the tragedy and he made no mention of gun control. This shooting has been the deadliest in the state's history.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” Trump began. “We cannot put into words the grief and pain we all feel.”
“But in dark times such as these, Americans do what they do best: we pull together. We join hands, we lock arms, and through the tears, and through the sadness, we stand strong, oh so strong,” he continued. “My administration will provide its full support to the great state of Texas and all local authorities investigating this horrible crime.”
Trump also tweeted out in response to the shooting, offering prayers and claiming he is “monitoring the situation from Japan.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott had a similar response.
Just last week, eight people were killed in Manhattan when a truck rammed into people on a bike path. Trump immediately called for the suspension of the visa program that the attacker had used to become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. He later walked back those comments, but still called for the death penalty for the driver of truck.
By contrast, when a gunman killed 59 and injured 527 more in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history just a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, Trump’s response involved thanking first responders and a call for prayers. In that instance, he again failed to make any mention of any policy that might help stop or at least abate these incidents in America.
In February, Trump chose to roll back a measure put in place by the Obama administration that added those with mental illnesses to the national background check database, which would in theory make it harder for those with mental illnesses to buy a gun.
Barack Obama has also responded to the Sutherland Springs tragedy. In a series of tweets, Obama said he “grieve[s] with all the families in Sutherland Springs harmed by this act of hatred,” and also asks for “the wisdom to ask what concrete steps we can take to reduce the violence and weaponry.”
Others have had even stronger reactions.