US Left shamefully leverages violence and shootings to 2020 campaign

Looking back at the shootings and violence that occurred in the US during recent months, it is clear that the left manipulates tragedy for political ends.

Karys Rhea and Keren Toledano

OpEds Donald Trump
Donald Trump

As liberals, we were appalled to discover that within hours of the El Paso shooting, the media and leading presidential nominees were exploiting the tragedy for political gain by linking it to President Trump.

“El Paso Suspect Reportedly a Trump Supporter,” a Slate magazine headline read.

“Donald Trump is responsible for this,” Cory Booker claimed in an NBC interview.

Similarly, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders linked the shootings to Trump. And yet, not twenty-four hours later, the Dayton, Ohio shooter was revealed to have been an outspoken supporter of both Warren and Sanders, and a self-declared “leftist.”

Across the Democratic political field, his leftism was deemed irrelevant. Bereft of moral courage, no one acknowledged that presumptions of white nationalism had been right in El Paso, but wrong in Dayton.

No one reflected on the unfounded, deeply offensive suggestion that average Americans were being radicalized by Trump’s rough-hewn approach, but not radicalized by the most vicious anti-Trumpers who accuse all political opponents of racism and Nazism. The temptation to engage in divisive identity politics was irresistible. Only Trump’s rhetoric was to blame.


Yet, in his remarks, President Trump emphatically condemned racism and white supremacy. He came up shy of presenting clear gun control policy reforms. But he did call for bipartisan action to limit gun violence, and attention to be paid to mental health issues, as well as a culture that glorifies violence.   

And in an earlier tweet, Trump recommended stronger background checks on gun ownership, adding that legislation should be married “with desperately needed immigration reform.” Somehow, from that, The Washington Post was impelled to run a piece claiming this headline: “Trump Just Blamed El Paso Shooting Victims For Their Own Deaths.”

Such a race-centered reading of Trump’s tweet, implying that the only reason to call for secure borders is to keep out non-whites, is intellectually dishonest. Perish the thought that the country might be concerned with more practical matters, like homeland security, economic sustainability, drug trafficking and human smuggling.

Even worse, when Trump did what one would expect of presidential behavior, visiting the injured and spending time with the victims’ families, The New York Times misleadingly ran the headline, “Trump Uses a Day of Healing to Deepen the Nation’s Divisions,” as if the minority of demonstrators in El Paso and Dayton speak for the entirety of both cities and should be afforded final say whether Trump be allowed to visit.

Political scapegoating does not equal compassion for the victims. In the words of White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, “Why aren't we trying to figure out a way to bring the nation together instead of saying it is the
In the words of White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, “Why aren't we trying to figure out a way to bring the nation together instead of saying 'it is the president's fault?'” 
president's fault?” 

The current Democratic party and its media pundits missed the opportunity to build unity, to find common ground in a bi-partisan tragedy, as the country did after 9/11.

If anything, the shootings reveal that extremism is not confined to one political party. And the fact is, in taking a long hard look at Congress, it becomes evident that there is not much legislative momentum on either side to touch the issue of gun control right now. There are anti-gun laws in place today, but Congress has not authorized their enforcement via the appropriation of sufficient funds, manpower, or resources.

Partisan selective outrage exposes a sinister truth: there is no real intention on the part of the cultural elite to solve the problems leading to these shootings. There is only an intention to benefit from them, to consolidate power by accusing one’s opponents. Proof? In a transparently self-serving move, Warren sent out a fundraising email immediately after the shootings citing the complicity of the President as the basis for which to solicit donations.

The dead weren’t even buried yet, and Warren was raising money off the tragedy, reminiscent of the child whose parents have just died, and instead of going to the funeral home, visits the lawyer for a reading of the will.

We resent those who claim to speak in the name of liberalism, while cynically weaponizing the shootings to foster division for political advantage, generating incendiary campaign talking points for 2020. In so doing, they sow the hatred they claim to abhor, and slaughter the dead a second time.

Karys Rhea is a writer and musician living in Brooklyn. She is the New York associate of the Counter-Islamist Grid.

Keren Toledano is a writer and artist living  in Manhattan.

Keren Toledano