The 2020 Democratic presidential field was quick to weigh in on President Trump’s address regarding the mass shootings that took place over the weekend inand .
As CBS News Political Unit Intern Julia Cherner noted in her write-up, many of the candidates rejected Mr. Trump’s idea that “mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.” Others criticized his previous rhetoric and suggested that his statement Monday condemning domestic terrorism and white supremacy doesn’t line up with what he’s said in the past. Read Cherner’s articleand a summary below.
MICHAEL BENNET: The Colorado senator responded in a tweet: “You do not get to sow division for years, dating back to before your presidency, and then wave it all off with a single speech.”
JOE BIDEN: In response to Mr. Trump’s line, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy,” Biden tweeted, “Let’s be very clear. You use the office of the presidency to encourage and embolden white supremacy. You use words like “infestation” and “invasion” to talk about human beings. We won’t truly speak with one voice against hatred until your voice is no longer in the White House.”
CORY BOOKER: The New Jersey senator tweeted, “The president is weak. And wrong. White supremacy is not a mental illness, and guns are a tool that white supremacists use to fulfill their hate.”
PETE BUTTIGIEG: South Bend’s mayor focused on this line from Mr. Trump: “Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.” Buttigieg tweeted, “If we are serious about national security, we must be clear about the threat we face and the factors behind it. Our president has proven once again that he is not.”
JULIAN CASTRO: Castro called the president’s statement hypocritical, tweeting, “Donald Trump is unfit to lead our nation. His words could not be more hollow. He says ‘we must condemn racism, bigotry and white nationalism’—but often serves as their national spokesperson.”
BILL DE BLASIO: De Blasio called Mr. Trump out for offering condolences to Toledo, when the shooting over the weekend occurred in Dayton, Ohio. De Blasio tweeted that “The best way to avoid sending “thoughts and prayers” to the wrong city? Pass a BILL that will make every city safer.”
JOHN DELANEY: In a one-on-one interview with CBS News Campaign Reporter Musadiq Bidar, Delaney said that the country needs a president who will stand up against hate and unify the country. When Bidar read the statement Mr. Trump made condemning domestic terrorism and white nationalism to him, Delaney said he hadn’t heard the statement but is “glad” he said that, adding, “He should’ve been saying it for a long time.”
KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND: “We have been. Now it’s your turn,” the New York senator said, in response to a video of Mr. Trump’s call for unity: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.”
KAMALA HARRIS: In a live interview on CNN, the California senator called the president’s remarks today “empty and frankly meaningless,” and said Mr. Trump isn’t providing real leadership. She sharply criticized his decision to go golfing while “babies are being orphaned.”
AMY KLOBUCHAR: The Minnesota senator tweeted that Mr. Trump’s statement was inadequate to address the situation at hand. She said, “‘Mental illness & hate pulls trigger, not the gun’ is President’s dodge to avoid truth: there’s mental illness&hate throughout world, but U.S. stands alone w/high rate of gun violence. When someone can kill 9 people in a minute, that gun should never have been sold. Action!”
SETH MOULTON: “In other words, we must condemn you,” was the congressman’s reply in a tweet to a video of Trump saying “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy.”
TIM RYAN: Ryan criticized the president for blaming video games and mental illness for the mass shootings. He tweeted, “The President is scapegoating video games and mental health—utterly disgraceful. @realDonaldTrump, tell Mitch McConnell to bring the Senate back from Recess and vote on the House-passed bills, HR 8 and HR 1112.”
BERNIE SANDERS: The Vermont senator also called the president hypocritical for his remarks on the shootings. He tweeted, “Mr. President: It’s not about what you say. It’s about what you do. Stop your hatred, divisiveness and anti-immigrant rhetoric. If you truly want to be bipartisan, ask McConnell to call the Senate back into session and pass gun safety legislation that Americans are demanding.”
ELIZABETH WARREN: The Massachusetts senator, like some of the other candidates, criticized Mr. Trump’s statement that “mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not guns.” She tweeted, “White supremacy is not a mental illness. We need to call it what it is: Domestic terrorism. And we need to call out Donald Trump for amplifying these deadly ideologies.”
FROM THE CANDIDATES
JOHN DELANEY: In addition to expanding background checks and limiting assault weapons, Delaney would like to explore the use of liability insurance for firearms. He detailed the idea in response to a question from a caucus goer at a barbecue in Iowa on Monday.
CBS News Political Unit Associate Producer Ellee Watson and CBS News Campaign Reporter Musadiq Bidar note that this is a new idea from Delaney that wasn’t included in in the gun safety plan he released in June. Delaney said, “It seems to me that requiring liability insurance would be a pretty smart way of making sure that people who are actually law abiding citizens possess firearms.”
UP NORTH: In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, members of Beto O’Rourke’s New Hampshire campaign launched a #RefuseToDoNothing campaign, countering episodes of gun violence with attendance at a local Latino American Festival, rally to support New Hampshire gun safety legislation and call to donate blood to the American Red Cross.
According to CBS News Campaign Reporter Nicole Sganga, campaign staffers on Tuesday will send care packages and letters to the victims’ families in El Paso and Dayton. The campaign said that a number of its Granite State organizers come from Texas, including some from El Paso and its surrounding communities.
IN OTHER NEWS
REMATCH IN IOWA: Former congressional candidate J.D. Scholten announced today that he will run again to try to unseat Rep. Steve King in Iowa’s 4th Congressional District. Scholten lost to King by 3.3% in the November 2018 election, the closest a Democrat has come to beating the nine-term congressman.
“This time, we’re going to get the job done,” Scholten said in a statement announcing his candidacy. Scholten, who was also considering a run for the Senate, ultimately decided he wanted to take another shot at representing the district where he grew up.
“This district is where my heart’s at,” Scholten told CBS News Campaign Reporter Adam Brewster in an interview Monday. “We’ve got 55,000 farmers in this district who are all just struggling. They need a leader and a voice.”
Iowa’s 4th District is normally safe territory for Republicans, and Scholten acknowledged “it’s going to be tough” to get the final votes he needs to secure a victory in November 2020. Scholten said his goal is to connect with at least 70% of voters in the district by election day.
King was stripped of his Congressional committee assignments earlier this year after an interview with The New York Times in which he suggested that white nationalism and white supremacy should not be considered offensive terms. There are currently three Republicans challenging King in the primary, and Scholten said his campaign will operate the same regardless of who he faces in the general election.
“When I was a pitcher, I didn’t care what uniform was on the other team,” Scholten said. “I had a game plan and I was going to execute it. If you followed our race last time, I barely mentioned King at any of our town halls. I talked about what we’re for. And that’s what my campaign was all about last time and it’s going to be this time too. It’s about who we are fighting for and what we stand for.”
TX GOP RETIREMENTS: U.S. Representative Kenny Marchant’s decision on Monday to forgo reelection in 2020 brings the count to nine U.S. House Representatives — including four from Texas — who have announced retirements from public office this year.
It is another potential headache for House Republicans that could benefit Democrats, who now have three open seats in Texas that had single-digit GOP wins in 2018: Rep. Marchant’s 24th Congressional District, Rep. Pete Olson’s 21st Congressional District and Rep. Will Hurd’s 23rd Congressional District. Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey told CBS News Political Unit Broadcast Associate Aaron Navarro they are “grateful” Marchant and others are making their announcements earlier, giving more time for GOP candidates to meet the state’s December filing deadline.
Staying in Texas, Justice Democrats-backed primary challenger Jessica Cisneros called out Democrat incumbent Rep. Henry Cuellar in Texas 28th Congressional District for having an “A” rating and accepting money from the NRA.
In a statement following this weekend’s mass shootings, Cisneros said, “These tragedies will continue to happen if Congress keeps catering to the NRA and corporate firearm lobby’s interests… Rep. Cuellar has an opportunity to put the interests of our communities before his sponsors, so I call on him to return the NRA’s contributions and support common-sense gun reforms.”