Trump promotes views of a criminologist who says there’s no evidence of a mass shooting ‘epidemic’
WASHINGTON — President Trump, who has vowed to push Congress to pass legislation in response to massacres this month in Texas and Ohio, on Thursday promoted the views of a criminologist who argued this week that there is no evidence that the United States is experiencing an ‘‘epidemic’’ of mass shootings.
On Twitter, Trump shared a message that linked to an interview with Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox, who shared his views in a podcast broadcast Wednesday by Reason, a libertarian publication.
In the interview, Fox said that although the number of mass shootings has risen in recent years, there are too few to draw a clear trend line. He blamed the media for creating unnecessary panic.
‘‘There is no evidence that we are in the midst of an epidemic of mass shootings,’’ Fox told interviewer Nick Gillespie.
The tweet that Trump shared providing a link to the interview was written by Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham.
It was among a spate of other retweets by Trump on Thursday morning on varied subjects.
The White House did not immediately respond to a question about what message Trump was trying to convey by sharing the tweet.
In the wake of the mass shootings this month in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, that left 31 people dead, Trump has vowed to push Republicans to embrace legislation that would strengthen background checks for gun buyers and persuade the National Rifle Association to drop its long-standing opposition to such measures.
Last week, Trump told reporters at the White House that conversations in recent days had yielded strong congressional support for ‘‘very meaningful background checks’’ and that his party, which has stymied gun-control efforts this year by Democrats, would take the lead in passing legislation after returning from an August recess.
‘‘I think Republicans are going to be great and lead the charge, along with the Democrats,’’ Trump said.
He continued to express support for stronger background checks when speaking to reporters on Tuesday in New Jersey.
According to a Washington Post analysis published earlier this month, four or more people have been killed in a mass shooting every 47 days, on average, since June 17, 2015.
That was the evening a young white supremacist killed nine people during a Bible study at a historic African- American church in Charleston, S.C.
O’Rourke warns about a nation of “too many guns”
Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, restarting his campaign nearly two weeks after a mass shooting in his hometown of El Paso, offered a darkly dire warning Thursday about a nation filled with ‘‘too many guns,’’ a situation he blamed on President Trump and ‘‘a Congress too craven to act.’’
O’Rourke described a commander in chief who encourages violence and ‘‘so openly speaks in racist terms, so openly favors one race, one religion, one kind of people in this country over every other kind of people in this country.’’
‘‘If at this moment we do not wake up to this threat, then we, as a country, will die in our sleep,’’ O’Rourke said in a Thursday morning speech in El Paso. ‘‘The response to this has to be that each of us make a commitment: to see clearly, to speak honestly and to act decisively in this moment of truth. I, for one, see more clearly than ever.’’
The Democrat and former congressman said that means continuing to run for president and brushing aside pleas that he drop out and again run for Senate in Texas.
But he said that he cannot go back to running for president in the way he did before — an approach that included traditional rites such as visiting the Iowa State Fair, eating corn dogs, and enjoying Ferris wheels as his fellow candidates did in his absence - because ‘‘the kind of challenges that we face in this country at this moment of crisis require an urgency.’’
He said he would instead go to ‘‘places where Donald Trump has been terrorizing and terrifying and demeaning our fellow Americans.’’ His first stop: Mississippi, where Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents recently raided several food-processing plants in search of undocumented immigrants.
Avenatti: prosecutors want payback for Trump criticism
Michael Avenatti said federal prosecutors in New York falsely accused him of trying to extort millions of dollars from Nike as payback for his outspoken criticism of President Trump.
Describing himself as ‘‘the foil for President Trump,’’ Avenatti on Wednesday asked a federal judge in New York to dismiss the case on grounds that it’s a ‘‘vindictive prosecution’’ by Trump’s allies in the Justice Department.
Trump publicly expressed his disdain for Avenatti as a ‘‘third rate lawyer’’ and ‘‘total low-life,’’ potentially swaying prosecutors to unfairly target him in a rushed investigation that led to his arrest in Manhattan in March, Avenatti’s attorney, Scott Srebnick, said in the filing. ‘‘This expression of disdain for Mr. Avenatti is especially troubling in view of President Trump’s persistent public efforts to target his political enemies, including those who have criticized him in the media or confronted him in the political arena,’’ Srebnick said.
Avenatti’s motion doesn’t address the other federal case in Manhattan against him, in which he’s accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the client that helped make him famous, the adult film star Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels.
His filing is also silent on separate charges against him in California, where he’s accused of embezzling money from his other clients, failing to pay millions of dollars in taxes, and lying in bank loan applications.