Bret Stephens, a conservative columnist for the New York Times on Monday and Nicolle Wallace, former White House communications director for George W. Bush, slammed Donald Trump for his response to a horrific massacre at a Texas church on Sunday.
“The idea that it’s a mental health issue is particularly misplaced,” Stephens said on MSNBC “Deadline.”
“It’s something I hear many of my conservative friends say, but the reality is the shooter in Las Vegas who took 58, 59 lives would never have been diagnosed as mentally ill,” Stephens continued. “All the evidence suggests there was no mental illness.”
“Same case in the shooter in the Steve Scalise case over the summer,” Stephens explained. “There wasn’t real evidence that this is a guy who would have risen to a threshold of being diagnosed as mentally ill. So the reality is, and by the way, there are millions of people who have mental health issues who would never do anything of the sort. So the overlap between people with mental illness and shooters isn’t there.”
Stephens noted the only “real connection is the access of people, mentally ill or not, to weapons that are capable in very short order of taking out 7% of the town, in yesterday’s case. And having access to those weapons, easier access to them than getting a driver’s license or getting a beautician’s license.”
“Until we have that conversation and by the way, have it immediately because we’re having the conversation immediately when it’s a terrorism attack, when it’s any other kind of attack, we’re going to see these repeated on a monthly basis which is what’s happening now,” Stephens said.
Turning to Trump, Wallace demanded to know why the president won’t have a conversation about access to guns in the United States.
“This is a president for whom nothing is sacred,” Wallace said. “Yet after a mass shooting where he might be asked tough questions, whether he might be asked to consider policies that might anger some of his base, he doesn’t want to have the conversation.”
“There are dead children in Texas,” Wallace said.