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Here’s How Republicans Are Responding To The Mass Shootings In El Paso And Dayton

"When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others," said a leading Republican, suggesting a connection researchers say is not there.

Posted on August 4, 2019, at 5:36 p.m. ET

At least 20 people were killed Saturday afternoon in a shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, a massacre that is being investigated by federal prosecutors as a hate crime and act of domestic terrorism.

Hours later in Dayton, Ohio, 9 people were killed and 27 others injured by a gunman who opened fire outside a downtown bar. The gunman was fatally shot by a police officer within 30 seconds of beginning his rampage.

In total, 29 people were killed and more than 50 others injured in the two mass shootings separated by about 13 hours and roughly 1,500 miles. The attacks come less than one week after another heavily armed gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, killing 3 people and injuring 15 others. The weapons used by the gunmen in all three mass shootings this week were high-powered assault-style rifles.

Here are the responses from prominent Republican lawmakers to the shootings.

President Donald Trump: "This is mental illness."

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

"Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice. I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people. Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers to the great people of Texas," Trump wrote on Twitter.

On Sunday, the president told reporters "hate has no place in our country, and we’re going to take care of it."

"Perhaps more has to be done," he added. "But this is also a mental illness problem if you look at both of those cases. This is mental illness. These are really people that are very, very seriously mentally ill. So a lot of things are happening."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: "Prayers for the victims and their families."

Joel Angel Juarez / AFP / Getty Images

"Today, the El Paso community was struck by a heinous and senseless act of violence. Our hearts go out to the victims of this horrific shooting and to the entire community in this time of loss. While no words can provide the solace needed for those impacted by this event, I ask that all Texans join Cecilia and me in offering our prayers for the victims and their families. The state of Texas and the Department of Public Safety are assisting the El Paso Police Department as they conduct their investigation. We have deployed troopers, special agents, Texas Rangers, tactical teams, and aircraft to the scene in a support role. The state of Texas will do everything it can to ensure justice is delivered to the perpetrators of this heinous act."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: "You can see the actions within video games."

Alex Wong / Getty Images

“The idea of these video games that dehumanize individuals to have a game of shooting individuals and others, I’ve always felt that is a problem for future generations and others. We've watched from studies shown before of what it does to individuals. When you look at these photos of how it took place, you can see the actions within video games and others."

Researchers say video games do not lead to mass shootings.

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick: "I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill."

Loren Elliott / Getty Images

"I look at this evil act — and let's condemn it for what it is, evil, — and I say, how long are we going to let, for example, and ignore at the federal level particularly, where they can do something about the video game industry? You know, in this manifesto that we believe is from the shooter, this manifesto, he talks about living out his super-soldier fantasy on Call of Duty. We know that the video game industry is bigger than the movie industry and the music industry combined, and there have been studies that say it impacts people and studies that says it does not, but I look at the common denominators, as a 60-some-year-old father and grandfather myself, what's changed in this country? We've always had guns, we’ve always had evil. But what's changed where we see this rash of shooting? And I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill. You know, in his manifesto, he said — this is not a Republican or Democrat thing, because he was concerned about robots and environment and immigrants. Obviously a hate crime, I think, in my view, against immigrants from this young man, just my view."

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman: "No law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face."

Joshua Morrison / AP

"Look at the mental health crisis in our country today, there aren't enough laws and, in fact, no law can correct some of the more fundamental cultural problems we face today as a country and the shooting last night is an indication of that. So I look forward to working together with my colleagues to try to respond the most effective way possible but we also have to look deep into our hearts and figure out how could someone point a gun at someone who he had never seen or known and pull the trigger?"

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz: "Pray they will bind together."

Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

"I’m horrified at the senseless violence and terror that pierced our nation's heart this weekend. We are stronger than the cowards that perpetrated this bloodshed. I stand with the grieving communities in Ohio and Texas and pray they will bind together to overcome these tragedies."

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush: White terrorism is a "real and present threat."

David J. Phillip via Pool / Getty Images

"I proudly served in Afghanistan as a Naval officer where our mission was to fiight and kill terrorists. I believe fighting terrorism remains a national priority. And that should include standing firm against white terrorism here in the US. There have now been multiple attacks from self-declared white terrorists here in the US in the past several months. This is a real and present threat that we must all denounce and defeat. All terrorism must be stopped. I am praying for the victims of the shooting in El Paso. And I am asking that all Americans stand firm against all forms of terrorism."

Vice President Mike Pence: "Praying for the injured and the families."

Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

"We mourn with those who lost loved ones in El Paso and Dayton & are praying for the injured and the families. There is no place in America for acts of violence, hatred and racism. We condemn these evil acts & stand with the people of Texas and Ohio. May God bless you all."

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