Trump: We Have to Start Building Mental Institutions Again

By Melanie Arter | August 16, 2019 | 5:29pm EDT
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

( - President Donald Trump said Thursday that it’s time to start building mental institutions again to deal with mentally ill people like those behind mass shootings.

Speaking to reporters in Morristown, N.J., Trump was asked what executive actions he’s prepared to take on guns.

“We’re going to look at that very closely, and we’re looking at the whole gun situation. I do want people to remember the words ‘mental illness.’ These people are mentally ill and nobody talks about that, but these are mentally ill people, and people have to start thinking about it,” the president said.

“I think we have to start building institutions again because, you know, if you look at the ‘60s and ‘70s, so many of these institutions were closed, and the people were just allowed to go onto the streets, and that was a terrible thing for our country. They closed them. Cities couldn’t afford them, and they closed them,” Trump said.



“I mean, I can tell you. In New York, they closed a lot of them, and the people went out. They went out onto the streets, and it’s a terrible thing, but a lot of our conversation has to do with the fact that we have to open up institutions. We can’t let these people be on the streets,” he said.

Asked whether he was pushing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on background checks, Trump said, “Yeah, we do. I’ve been speaking to Mitch about that. I’ve been speaking to everybody about it, and we don’t want to see crazy people owning guns, but I also want to remember that mental illness is something nobody wants to talk about.

“These people are mentally ill, and we have to study that also, because, you know, it’s them. They pull the trigger. The gun doesn’t pull the trigger. They pull the trigger. So we have to look very seriously at mental illness, and we’re doing that at a level that hasn’t been done before,” the president said.

The president said he’s “speaking to many Republicans” about gun legislation.

“They want to see something happen, and basically, it’s very simple. They don’t want to have insane people, dangerous people, really bad people having guns. Republicans agree with me on that, I think, you know, I would say, pretty much uniformly,” he said.

Trump said he’s concerned that if the GOP came up with a good bill on background checks, the Democrats would want more, something that the voters don’t want.fraid that if we came up with a good bill, I think the Democrats then might up it, and then do things that can’t be done and that the public wouldn’t want done. I hope that wouldn’t happen, but that’s happened in the past,” he said.

When asked whether he supports universal background checks, Trump said, “I support strong, meaningful background checks, where people that should not have guns, people that are insane, people that are mentally ill, people that are bad, bad people -- like this guy in Philadelphia, who has been arrested numerous times.

“He’s a bad guy -- where people like that would not have guns, and, frankly, people like that should be locked up. He shouldn’t have even been on the streets,” he said, referring to Maurice Hill, the gunman who wounded six police officers during an hours-long standoff.

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