Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said Wednesday that President Donald Trump was the "primary cheerleader" for hate in America, amid continued attacks from Democrats for his rhetoric after weekend mass shootings that killed 31 people and injured 53 others.
"There is a very sophisticated network of hate in this country that started, you know, well before President Trump took office," Murphy, who is in his second term, told MSNBC. "But he was their cheerleader — and he is now their primary cheerleader, so he is making it worse, not better."
Despite President Trump calling for the nation to "condemn bigotry, hatred, and white supremacy" in a White House speech Monday, Democrats have pilloried him after the fatal shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, within 24 hours.
The president also faced protests from residents in El Paso, a heavily Hispanic city on the U.S. border with Mexico, Wednesday during a visit after meeting with first-responders, police and victims in Ohio.
Murphy told MSNBC that "Congress also contributes to the violence" because of its failure to pass broad gun reforms after such mass shootings as the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in his state.
"When these young men are contemplating exorcising their demons, their disdain for people that are different from them, through a weapon, through the muzzle of a rifle, they notice when Congress doesn't step in and condemn these actions with legislation," Murphy said.
"And, so, our silence has become a quiet endorsement for these unhinged individuals who are trading in this hate speech who end up turning guns on individuals," he added.
The suspect in shooting at an El Paso Walmart, Patrick Wood Crusius, 21, allegedly wrote and post an online racist, anti-Hispanic manifesto before his rampage. He has been charged with capital murder.
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