Reject language from leaders that 'normalises racist sentiments': Barack Obama

Reject language from leaders that 'normalises racist sentiments': Barack Obama

Former U.S. President Barack Obama addresses young leaders in Berlin
Former U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a town hall of young leaders from across Europe at an Obama Foundation event in Berlin, Germany April 6, 2019. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

WASHINGTON: Former US President Barack Obama responded to the weekend mass shootings in Ohio and Texas on Monday (Aug 5) 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," Obama said in a statement posted on Twitter that did not refer to President Donald Trump by name.

"Like the followers of ISIS and other foreign terrorist organisations, these individuals may act alone, but they've been radicalised by white nationalist websites that proliferate on the Internet," he said.

Mr Obama went on to say that such language isn't new and that it has been "at the root of most human tragedy throughout history, here in America and around the world."

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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 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.

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

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 measures.

Source: Reuters/mn

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