The Boston Globe - 08.08.2019

(Joyce) #1

THURSDAY, AUGUST 8, 2019 The Boston Globe The Nation A


have triedto soothe them, and
further proof of his staff’s in-
ability to persuade him to fol-
low the norms of presidential
behavior.
Trumphimself finished the
day claimingsuccess.“We had
an amazing day,” he told report-
ers in El Paso. Of his earlier
stop in Dayton,he said:“The
love, the respect for the office of
the presidency — I wish you
couldhave beenin there to see
it.”
He was particularly upset by
excerpts froma news confer-
encein OhiofeaturingSenator
Sherrod Brown, a Democrat,
and Nan Whaley, the Demo-
cratic mayor of Dayton, that he
had seen whileflying from Day-
ton to El Paso. Brown, who
tookan otherwise respectful
tone towardthe president, sug-
gested that some victims at the
hospital had privately com-
plained about Trump’s visit and
that he has used racist and divi-
sive language. Trumpreacted
with fury.
The presidentvisited the
two cities after intense criti-
cism that his fixation withille-
gal immigration has stoked
white nationalism and that he
has failed to take substantive
action,includingby backing
substantial gun controlmea-
sures,to combat massshoot-
ings.
Trumpwas greeted by pro-
testers in bothDaytonand El
Paso as well as by supporters
defendinghim at a moment
whenconservatives say he is
beingunfairly blamedfor trag-
ediescommitted by deranged


uTRUMP
ContinuedfromPageA


individualsacting irrationally.
In Republican-leaningDay-
ton, Trump’s visit was met with
smallgroups of protesters who
waved signsthat said “Dump
Trump”and “Do Something!”
Counterdemonstrators waved
signs supportive of Trump.
The reception was especially
bitter in El Paso, a border city
that Trump has repeatedlycrit-
icizedand wheremany people
blame his anti-immigrant mes-
saging and talk of a cross-bor-
der “invasion” for inspiring the
gunmanwho killed 22 people
at a Walmart here.
Protesters staged a daylong
demonstration in a parknear
the University MedicalCenter
of El Paso, and when Trump ar-
rived at a nearby police emer-
gency operations center, a
group greeted him with a large
whitebedsheet that had the
words“Racist, go home” writ-
ten on it. At a memorial site in
a parking lot near the Walmart,
wheremourners had erected
smallwhitecrossesand left
hundredsof flowers,balloons,
and candles, the appearance of
a woman in a red “Make Ameri-
ca Great Again” hat provoked
shoutingand profanity.
Although Biden spoke for
many Democrats on Wednes-
day whenhe said in a speech
that Trumphas “fanned the
flamesof whitesupremacy,”
Trump again deniedthat before
he departed fromWashington
in the morning. But even as he
did so, he repeated his past
claim of equivalence between
extremists on the left and right.
“I am concernedaboutthe
riseof any group of hate,”
Trumptold reporters before

leaving the WhiteHouse. “Any
group of hate, I am — whether
it’s white supremacy, whether
it’s any other kind of suprema-
cy, whether it’s antifa, whether
it’s any group of hate, I am very
concernedabout it.”
In recent days, Trump’s
aides have also soughtto draw
attention to other acts of vio-
lence committed by people who
have expressed leftist political
views. But many currentand
formerlaw enforcementoffi-
cials are increasingly con-
cerned that white nationalist
violence is growing into a ma-
jor domestic terrorist threat.
In his comments to report-
ers Wednesday morning,
Trumprepeated his previous
attackson unauthorized immi-
grants and called Biden “a pret-
ty incompetent guy” who has
“truly lost his fastball.”

The president heldback
frommakingany further public
statements once he arrived in
Daytonlater in the morning,
visitingprivately withfamilies
and victims as well as emergen-
cy and medical personnel at
Miami Valley Hospital. But
even as his spokeswomansaid
the event was never meant as a
photoop, DanScavino, the
president’s social mediadirec-
tor, posted on Twitter pictures
from insidethe hospital“The
Presidentwas treated like a
Rock Star inside the hospital,
which was all caught on video,”
he tweeted. “They all lovedsee-
ing theirgreat President!”
The White House quickly
followedup withcampaign-
style videofeaturing images of
Trumpand the first lady, Mela-
nia Trump,shaking hands with
first respondersand chatting

with smiling hospital workers.
Brownand Whaley joined
Trump on the visit to the hospi-
tal, where they said they each
pressedthe presidentto take
moreaggressiveaction to pass
universal backgroundchecks
for gun ownership.
In the news conference soon
after Trump departed Dayton
for El Paso, Brown and Whaley
said the president refusedto
commit to signingsuch a bill,
but told themthat he would
“get thingsdone.” Earlierin the
day, Trumptold reporters that
he supported background
checks,as he has before,but
did not providedetailsabout
what legislation he might ap-
prove.
He also said he sees ‘‘no po-
litical appetite’’ for banning as-
saultrifles.
Brown said Trump“was re-

ceived as well as you can expect
by the patients.”
“They are hurting,” Brown
said. “He was comforting. He
andMelania did the right
things.It’s his job in part to
comfort people.I’m glad he did
it.”
But later on Air Force One,
Trumpsoonattacked the sena-
tor and the mayor on Twitter.
“Their news conferenceafter I
left for El Paso was a fraud,” the
president wrote. “It bore no re-
semblance to what took place.”
In Dayton, the mainprotest
of about a hundredpeople ma-
terialized alonga stretch of
SouthMain Street, in a grassy
field a few blocks from the hos-
pitalwhereTrumpwas visiting
some of the shootingvictims.

MaterialfromTheWashington
Post was usedin thisreport.

ByJess Bidgood
GLOBESTAFF
WASHINGTON — Last
weekend’s senselesscarnage
thrust the politics of gun con-
trol into the centerof the 2020
Democratic presidentialprima-
ry, promptingnumerouscandi-
dates to make or reiterate full-
throated calls for sweeping gun
reforms, like assault weapon
buybacks or national licensing
systems.
Among the candidates who
have yet to releasea detailed
gun safety policy is an unex-
pected name: Senator Elizabeth
Warren of Massachusetts, who
has made ambitious and pro-
gressive policy proposals the
bedrockof her presidential
race. There are 29 policy an-
nouncementslisted on War-
ren’s campaign website, but
noneof themspecifically men-
tion guns.
That is likely to change by
this weekend, however: A cam-
paignaide said she is set to re-
leasea new plan on gunsprior
to a forum organized by Every-
townfor Gun Safety and other


groups in Iowa on Saturday.
The plan will dealat least in
part with enforcement, accord-
ing to a person familiar with it,
calling for strengtheningthe
BureauofAlcohol,Tobaccoand
Firearmswith more money and
tougherregulations, and revok-
ing licenses from gun dealers
who violate rules.
Warren has consistently
called for stronger gun safety
measures in Congress, winning
her high praise from gun safety
groups. But the fact that she
waited until the eighth month
of her campaignto deliver a
comprehensive policy on an is-
sue at the heart of some of her
opponents’platforms gives
theirallies an opening to sug-
gest that she has a hardtime
getting out of her ownpolicy
wheelhouse.
“The senator doesan ex-
tremely good job dealingwith
issuesthat fall within the realm
of economics,” said Bakari Sell-
ers, a former state lawmaker in
SouthCarolinawhohas en-
dorsed California Senator Ka-
mala Harris. “Some of the other
issues... she struggles with.”
Warren has alreadyreleased
an immigration plan, and in re-
cent days she has stronglycon-
demned whitesupremacy, do-

mestic terrorism,and called
President Trump a racist.
But she has a worldview that
is at once sweeping and deeply
focused,relating most of soci-
ety’s ills backto the issuesof
corruption, corporate greed,
and economicinequality that
animate her campaign. While
critics like Sellers suggest her
focus on her core themes is lim-
iting, other Democrats see that
focus as an asset for her cam-
paign that helps her link differ-
ent issues together.
“No matter the issue, it can
connect backto an overall
theme,whichI thinkis power-
ful for voters,” saidAndrew
Feldman, a progressive Demo-
cratic strategist in Washington.
This week, instead of imme-
diately rolling out a new gun
plan,she tied gun controldi-
rectly to her concerns about the
role of money in politics.
“The majority of Americans
wantto see us put sensible leg-
islation in place to get the guns
out of the handsof peoplewho
pose threats like this, and yet it
doesn’t happen and the reason
for that is becausethe gun man-
ufacturers ownWashington,”
Warren said in an interview on
MSNBC on Sunday, vowing to
do “everything I can by execu-

tive order,” and calling to get rid
of the filibuster so the Senate
can pass new gun laws with a
simple majority.
Other candidates, mean-
while,have alreadymadede-
tailed, multipart gun safety pro-
posalsa central tenet of their
campaigns.In April,Harris re-
leased a plan to take four specif-
ic executive actionsto increase
background checks, take law-
breaking gun dealers to court,
andmore.The following
month,New Jersey Senator
Cory Booker rolledout a 14-
pointgun violenceplanthat is
anchored by a federal licensing
programforgunowners.
Followingthe shootings over
the weekend, two othercandi-
dates — Washington Governor
Jay Inslee and South Bend May-
or Pete Buttigieg— eachrolled
out new multistep gun safety
planson Tuesday, both of which
echoedBooker’s call for nation-
wide gun licensing.
On Sunday, Vermont Sena-
tor Bernie Sanderscalledfor a
ban on making, selling, and
transferring assault weapons
and a buyback program; the fol-
lowing day, in a CNN interview,
former vice president Joe Biden
endorsed a nationalbuyback
program, and his campaign is

touting his efforts to passthe
1994 ban on assault weapons
and high capacity magazines,
which has since expired.
Gun safety advocates say the
issue is likely to become central
in boththe primary and the
general election, markinga sig-
nificant shift from the 2008and
2012 elections.
“What we’re going to see in
2020 is a referendum on the fu-
ture of firearms policy in Amer-
ica,” said Peter Ambler, the ex-
ecutivedirector of the gun safe-
ty group Giffords. He said guns
were also a galvanizing issue for
Democratic voters in last year’s
midterm elections.
Warren is not the only top-
tier candidate whohas yet to
lay out a comprehensivegun
policy. Biden has not released
one, either, althoughan aide
said the campaign will do so.
At times overthe course of
her campaign,Warrenhas
soundeda cautiousnoteon
gunsthat is at oddswithsome
of her morecrusading liberal
politics. During the first Demo-
cratic debate, she calledfor new
researchintogun violence,
whichhas gotten little govern-
mentfunding in part because of
an NRA-backed amendment
from the 1990s that stymied

gun research by the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention.
In a videointerview with
The New York Times, she em-
phasizeda cultural connection
to gunsdrawn from her child-
hoodin Oklahoma.“My family
had gunswhenI was growing
up. My brothers have guns,” she
said,adding, “We needto have
better gun safety laws in place,
serious laws.”
Warren speaks more about
the issueon the campaigntrail
if she is asked specifically about
it by audience members, and of-
ten seeks to broaden the con-
versation beyond mass shoot-
ings to the pain of everyday gun
violence — a point somegun
control advocates appreciate.
“It’s not just the mass shoot-
ings that make headlines, it’s
the childrenwhoare shoton
our sidewalks, in our play-
grounds and backyards, visiting
a friend,” Warren said in Lan-
sing, Mich., recently.
“We know what we need to
do,” Warrensaid, callingfor
universal background checks,
closinggunshowloopholes,
and to “take the weapons of war
off our streets.”

Jess Bidgoodcanbe reached at
Jess.Bidgood@globe.com.

Warren lags other candidates on a plan for gun control


Has yet to make


sweeping proposal


onkey issue


Divisions are laid


bare as Trump


visits grieving cities


JOHN MINCHILLO/ASSOCIATEDPRESS
Demonstratorsgatheredat MiamiValley Hospitalin Dayton,Ohio,to protest a visitby PresidentTrump.

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