(CNSNews.com) – President Donald Trump said Wednesday that his critics are “political people” who are trying to score points, and in many cases are running for president and are “very low in the polls.”
Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn prior to leaving for Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, a reporter asked the president what he would say to his critics that believe his rhetoric is emboldening white nationalists and inspiring anger.
“So my critics are political people. They’re trying to make points. In many cases, they’re running for president, and they’re very low in the polls, a couple of them in particular, very low in the polls,” the president said.
"If you look at Dayton, that was a person that supported I guess you would say Bernie Sanders I understood, Antifa I understood, Elizabeth Warren I understood. [It] had nothing to do with President Trump. So these are people that are looking for political gain. I don’t think they’re getting it, and as much as possible, I’ve tried to stay out of that,” he said.
Trump said they’ve toned down the rhetoric, but they’ve “been getting hit left and right from everybody” – many of whom he doesn’t know, including a couple of “political people from Texas that aren’t doing very well” and the mayor of Dayton, Ohio.
“I don’t think it works, because you know I would like to stay out of the political fray. As I was saying, and as just came out, the Dayton situation, he was a fan of Antifa. He was a fan of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, nothing to do with Trump, but nobody ever mentions that,” he said.
Trump said he doesn’t blame Warren or Sanders for the Dayton shooting.
“I don’t blame anybody. I blame—these are sick people. These are people that are really mentally ill, mentally disturbed. It’s a mental problem, and we’re going to be meeting. We’re going to be meeting the members of Congress. I’ve already got meetings scheduled, and I have had plenty of talks over the last two days,” he said, adding, “We’re going to come up with something that’s going to be really very good, beyond anything that’s been done so far.”
As far as whether he’s in favor of bringing back Congress from summer break to address gun legislation, Trump said, “We’re going to see where we are. We’re dealing with leadership right now, and you know, you have two sides that are very different on this issue, and let’s say all good people, but two sides that are very different.
“If we get close, I will bring them back, but it has to be, you know we have to see where we are with leadership. Normally, this has been really a decision Congress gets together, and they try and do something, but if you look over the last 30 years, not a lot has been done,” he said.
The president said he is in favor of doing something on background checks.
“Well I’m looking to do background checks. I think background checks are important. I don’t want to put guns into the hands of mentally unstable people or people with rage or hate, sick people,” he said.
Trump said there’s no “political appetite” right now in Congress for an assault weapons ban.
“I can tell you that there is no political appetite for that at this moment,” he said. “You could do your own polling, and there’s no political appetite from it from the standpoint of legislature, but I will certainly bring that up. I’ll bring that up as one of the points.
“There’s a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite for background checks, and I think we can bring up background checks like we’ve never had before. I think both Republican and Democrat are getting close to a bill on, to doing something on background checks,” the president added.