He doubled down on his incendiary rhetoric about violence in Chicago, but President Donald Trump failed to mention this week’s deadly shooting in suburban Kansas City when he addressed the crowd at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday.
Wednesday’s attack in at Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, left one man dead and two others injured. Eyewitnesses say that the gunman, 51-year-old Adam Purinton, used “racial slurs” before he started shooting, yelling “get out of my country” before firing the shots that killed 32-year-old Srinivas Kuchibhotla and injured Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24.
Kuchibhotla and Madasani, both Indian, were co-workers at the Olathe-based GPS-navigation company Garmin. Grillot, who reportedly “stepped up to defend the two men when another was spouting racial slurs at them,” was shot while attempting to disarm Purinton.
The Kansas City Star reports that Purinton was arrested at an Applebee’s in Clinton, Missouri, where a bartender “called police after Purinton allegedly said he had killed two Middle Eastern men.”
The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas) on Thursday called for state and federal hate crime charges to be brought against Purinton.
Trump made no mention of the shooting in his speech Friday, despite it having “escalated into an international incident amid fears that the attack was motivated by bias and hate,” as the New York Times put it.
“In fact, the Kansas shooting comes just as President Trump doubles down on his harsh rhetoric, which has fertilized anti-immigrant sentiment across the country,” Rafi Schwartz wrote at Fusion. “On Friday, the president spoke before an enthusiastic crowd at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, telling attendees that, ‘the core conviction of our movement is that we are a nation that put and will put its own citizens first’.”
“I mean, can you believe what’s happening in Chicago?” Trump asked the CPAC crowd, leading one person in the audience to shout, “Chiraq!”
Last month, Trump threatened to send in “the Feds” if Chicago didn’t “fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on.” He speaks often about crime and poverty in “inner cities,” but has been criticized for not taking a strong enough stance against violence that is perpetrated by white, non-Muslim suspects or that impacts primarily racial and religious minorities.
As ThinkProgress wrote Friday:
Trump has established a pattern of trying to capitalize on incidents that reinforce his Islamophobia and fear-mongering about “inner cities,” while ignoring violence perpetrated by white supremacists. He has still not publicly denounced a January 29 mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that left six dead and was reportedly perpetrated by a white nationalist, anti-immigrant fan of his. Instead, days later, he tweeted about an attack in Paris that left one person with minor injuries.
[…]Research indicates a person in America is far more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist or white supremacist — like the one who allegedly opened fire on Wednesday night in Kansas — than a Muslim terrorist. But three days after the Quebec City mosque shooting, news broke that the Trump administration wants a federal counter-terrorism program to stop focusing on violent white supremacists and any other extremist groups not comprised of Muslims.
Meanwhile, as regards Chicago, while Trump talked Friday about supporting the “incredible men and women of law enforcement” in an effort to address violence, he didn’t offer anything in the way of a detailed solution—which as former Chicago Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice noted last month would “require tougher gun laws, as well as better educational opportunities, more effective policing strategies and an overall investment in communities.”