Trump Advisor Kellyanne Conway Hits Back at Democrats Who Are Blaming Trump for Shootings

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
August 6, 2019 Updated: August 6, 2019

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has slammed several Democratic presidential candidates, accusing them of grandstanding, after they blamed the president’s rhetoric for the massacres in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, over the weekend.

Conway made the comments during an appearance on Fox & Friends on Aug. 6, where she said that while President Donald Trump is “trying to bring the country together and heal a nation,” 2020 Democrats are politicizing the shootings that left 31 people dead without offering viable solutions.

“The president did not respond in kind. They politicized this over the weekend. They all blamed him and I want to name and shame them now because he did not respond in kind. They want to be president? He is the president. And he is trying to bring the country together and have concrete bipartisan, bicameral steps,” Conway said during the program.

Following the mass murders, several Democratic hopefuls criticized the president for putting the blame of the shootings on mental illness and glorification of violence instead of guns.

Beto O’Rourke, who was a former Texas congressman, told reporters after the El Paso shooting that Trump “is a racist and he stokes racism in this country.”

“And it does not just offend our sensibilities, it fundamentally changes the character of this country and it leads to violence,” O’Rourke added.

He then doubled down on his comments in an interview with ABC News where he claimed the president “doesn’t just tolerate, he encourages the kind of open racism.”

Conway took the opportunity during the Aug. 6 interview to call out O’Rourke for his rhetoric, saying that it was not helpful.

“Beto O’Rourke—from the Vanity Fair magazine cover to the vanity project candidacy—out there screaming and cursing about President Trump. That doesn’t heal a single soul. That doesn’t help to prevent another mass shooting,” she said.

She also called out Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) for using the situation to raise money for Sens. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) in an email appeal.

“If we’re going to address the gun violence epidemic in our country, we need to take back the Senate in 2020. I’ll fight my heart out to make sure Democrats win up and down the ballot in 2020—but if we’re going to beat Republicans and the gun lobby, it’s going to take a grassroots movement,” Warren wrote in part in the email, reported the Free Beacon.

In response, Conway said: “This is a disgrace and if no one else is going to talk about it, I’m going to talk about it.”

Along with Warren, the Democratic National Committee sent out an email on Aug. 5 to their supporters asking for donations following the mass shootings.

The email encouraged donors to “split” a donation starting at $10 “between my organization… Giffords PAC, and the Democratic National Committee today.” It was signed by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ).

Conway touted a number of steps Trump has already taken to tackle gun violence including enacting the Fix NICS Act, which strengthens the background checks for firearm purchases and banning bump stocks.

Moreover, Trump also denounced white supremacy in his speech on Aug. 5 at the White House. He said: “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.”

Conway said that while Trump is “denouncing white supremacy” the Democrats are “out there denouncing him.”

“America, take a look at it and don’t forget it,” she said.

She also called out the Democrats for double standards by giving examples to show the difference between how Republicans deal with gun violence as opposed to Democrats.

“When Bernie Sanders’ supporter … shot up Steve Scalise who was within inches of his life, and others on that baseball field two years ago, we didn’t run out and say that: Oh, he was hunting down Republicans and that he was a Bernie Sanders supporter. We were worried about Steve Scalise’s life being saved. That was absolutely the darkest day in this White House in its first year in my opinion,” she said, referring to the 2017 incident where Scalise was shot by a man with a rifle during a Republican baseball practice.

She gave a more recent example where an armed Antifa extremist threw firebombs at an immigrant detention building on July 13. The attacker had quoted “the exact language” throughout his manifesto that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to describe border detention facilities.

“We didn’t blame her,” Conway said.

Conway said that in order to address the violence, the president has everything on the table.

“So folks, instead of just screaming and raising money on this. Let’s think through specific examples of that can be ameliorated for the next time,” she said.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.