Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney defended his boss on Sunday against accusations by many top Democrats that President Trump’s rhetoric on issues like immigration is, in part,responsible for the two mass shootings over the last 24 hours.
"This is a serious problem, no question about it, but these are sick, sick people and the president knows it," Mulvaney said on ABC's "This Week." "But I don't think it's fair to lay this at the feet of the president."
Mulvaney added that shortly after Saturday’s shooting in El Paso, Texas – where 20 people were killed and dozens more wounded inside a Walmart – Trump ordered Attorney General William Barr "to find out what we could do to prevent this type of thing from happening, what we could do to send a message to the sick people who would do this type of thing."
Mulvaney touted the Trump administration’s moves on firearms, noting that the White House enacted a bump stock ban and stronger background check system. He also defended Trump against claims that the president’s sometimes fiery words encouraged white nationalists and other racist groups.
"This was a sick person, the shooter in Dayton was a sick person. No politician is to blame for that. The people responsible were the ones that pulled the trigger," he said. "We need to figure out how to create less of those people as a society and not who gets blamed going into the next election."
A gunman armed with a rifle opened fire in an El Paso shopping area packed with as many as 3,000 people during the busy back-to-school season, leaving 20 dead and more than two dozen injured, police said.
Hours later, there was another mass shooting across the country. Police in Dayton, Ohio, said nine people were killed by a shooter who was shot to death by responding officers.
The shooting came less than a week after a 19-year-old gunman killed three people and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival in California before dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.