To the editor: 

This letter is in response to Warren Salinger’s Aug. 14 letter (”’Thoughts and prayers’ mean little”). Unfortunately, Salinger’s letter traffics in misinformation and somehow connects the El Paso shooter to Trump. Well, here are some facts. According to an article in the Washington Post, the El Paso shooter, 21-year-old Patrick Crusius, had a detailed manifesto and, according to the article, “After a brief introduction, the 2,300-word manifesto is divided into five sections ... the document is a jumble of positions and ideologies. In it, the writer warns of the dangers of environmental degradation, rails against corporate influence in the government and cautions against interracial marriage ... And he stresses that he has maintained his white supremacist ideology for many years, predating President Trump and his 2016 campaign, which he says did not influence his reasons for carrying out the attack.”

Following this horrific and racist act, Trump stated from the White House: “The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online, consumed by racist hate. In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the heart and devours the soul.” Some have argued these words are hollow. But let me ask, if Trump is a racist would he have given clemency to Alice Johnson, an African-American grandmother sent to jail for life over an offense most get a few years for; would he have signed the First Step Act to reform our criminal justice system which disproportionately jailed African Americans; would he promote economic opportunity zones to bring economic prosperity in African-American communities; would he have appointed Ben Carson (the first African-American surgeon to separate conjoined twins joined at the head) as the secretary of HUD; would he have appointed Katrina Pearson (an African-American woman) as one of his campaign spokespersons; or would he have visited African-American churches during his campaign for president?

Could Trump tone down some tweets? Sure. Trump isn’t perfect. But he has produced more evidence that he treats everyone equally, and that everyone should be judged based on their character, not race. We should all fight racism and violence, and not traffic in either hate or lies.

Jonathan Ring


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