World

Obama: Reject language of hatred and fear

WASHINGTON: Former President Barack Obama responded to the weekend mass shootings in Ohio and Texas on Monday with a plea to Americans to reject the language of hatred, fear and intolerance from any of their leaders.

"We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalises racist sentiments," Mr Obama said in a statement posted on Twitter that did not refer to President Donald Trump by name.

The shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, killed 31 people.

A 21-year-old white man has been charged with capital murder in Saturday's shooting spree in Texas. Police in El Paso cited a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto posted online shortly before the shooting, which they attributed to the suspect.

Democrats said Mr Trump was indirectly to blame for the attack in Texas, with some drawing connections between his rhetoric to a resurgence in nationalism and xenophobic sentiment.

Mr Trump on Monday proposed tighter monitoring of the Internet, mental health reform and wider use of the death penalty in response to mass shootings.

Mr Trump did not address accusations that his own anti-immigrant and racially charged comments have contributed to a rise in race tensions, nor did he call for broad gun control.

"These sinister ideologies must be defeated," he said. "Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul."

Democrats, who have long pushed for stricter gun control, quickly accused Mr Trump of hiding behind talk of mental health reform and the role of social media instead of committing to laws aimed at curbing gun violence in the US.

Mr Trump plans to visit El Paso today.

Two more victims of the shooting rampage at a Walmart store in El Paso died of their wounds on Monday, police said, raising the death toll to 22 in that massacre. - REUTERS

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