Montage: Media, Dems Race to Politicize Attack, Blame GOP
Before the final death toll had even been announced, the blame game began — with members of the media and elected Democratic officials accusing conservatives’ support for the Second Amendment for leading to Sunday night’s tragic massacre in Las Vegas.
Little is known about the motivation behind the attack that, at last count, left 59 dead and more than 500 injured, but that hasn’t stopped pundits from assigning blame.
After President Trump addressed the country and called for national unity in the wake of the attack, NBC’s Brian Williams invited Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) onto MSNBC, rhetorically asking him why the White House is avoiding discussing gun control.
“We saw this evil in Newtown just a few years ago," Blumenthal replied." "Nothing has changed since Newtown. Congress has been complicit.”
Williams then encouraged Blumenthal to continue his broadside on conservatives.
“Why don't we act? What is the problem? What was it about first graders losing their lives that wasn't sad enough to result in changes?” Williams asked sarcastically. “When do you believe the American people will have had enough; enough to push back against the edges of the Second Amendment argument enough to say we can live under the Second Amendment but there should be limits?”
On the late night comedy shows, attacks on Republicans came fast and furious.
ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel, who recently achieved notoriety for turning his show into a platform for opposition to the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, last night trained his anger on GOP lawmakers, whom he accused of enabling the attack.
"The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and a number of other law makers who won’t do anything about this because the NRA has their balls in a money clip also sent their thoughts and their prayers today," Kimmel said during his tearful monologue. "Which is good. They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country because it’s so crazy."
Kimmel also suggested Trump's grief for the victims was somehow hypocritical.
"President Trump is visiting Las Vegas on Wednesday, he spoke this morning," Kimmel said. "He said he’s praying for those who lost their lives. You know, in February he also signed a bill that made it easier for people with severe mental illness to buy guns legally."
Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah accused Republicans of valuing guns more than the lives of Americans.
"So the people of Las Vegas, I can’t give you thoughts and prayers, I can only say that I’m sorry," Noah said. "Sorry that we live in a world where there are people who will put a gun before your lives."
Noah also said Americans prefer blaming Muslims and blacks for mass shootings, rather than the guns themselves.
"I don’t know how— we seem to do everything to avoid talking about guns," he said, "I’ve never been to a country where people are as afraid to speak about guns. Every time there is a shooting. You got to look at something else. Is it Muslims? Is it their religion, is that what it is?"
On "Late Night with Seth Meyers," Meyers said Republicans should "just be honest" that "we're never going to do anything" to stop gun violence.
"If you’re not willing to do anything, just be honest and tell us; this is how it is, this is how it will continue to be," he said. "Instead of saying, 'this isn’t the time to talk about it,' just say we’re never going to talk about it. If it’s going to be thoughts and prayers from here on out, the least you can do is be honest about that."
Tom Brokaw said gun stores are increasingly able to sell "adapted military weapons" and that must be addressed.
"You can now get an AR-15, which is a modification of a military weapon M-1, but it’s supposed to be a single shot at a time, but it has a big capacity," said during an interview on the TODAY Show. "I’ve owned guns all my life. And it used to have mostly 30/30s and high-powered sporting rifles. Now, they have racks of these adapted military weapons. ... They’re designed to do one thing, which is to kill people. And they can’t be adapted. So we need to have that kind of a dialogue in this country. No other western nation has the number of gun deaths that we have in America.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said expressing "thoughts and prayers" is insufficient.
"Thoughts and prayers are not enough when more moms and dads will bury their children this week, and thoughts and prayers are not enough when sons and daughters will be forced to grow up without their parents," she said on the Senate floor. "Attacks like we have seen today have happened all too often in America. Enough is enough."
Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said Congress already knows what it can do to stop these attacks.
"What we need to do now is bring to the floor of the House of Representatives votes on banning assault weapons, banning high-capacity magazines, having background checks," she said Monday. "We have to act. This is not just one time. We have enough data and evidence to do something, otherwise we’re failing the people of this country whose lives are at stake and we are sitting here doing nothing about it."
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass) said he's going after the NRA, turning it into "not relevant anymore."
"The NRA has this incredible grip on the Republican Party," Markey said in an interview with Chris Hayes. "And our job is going to be to turn NRA into not relevant anymore in American politics. And this fight I think is now going to be something that absolutely commands the attention of the American people.”
Democratic Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela, also speaking with Hayes, said that Nevadans "are all victims" of Republicans' "inaction" on gun control.
And that's all within 24 hours of the attack.