CONCORD — Political infighting in the wake of two mass murders wore on as Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker’s campaign called on President Trump to cancel his planned New Hampshire rally next week and to focus on getting gun control legislation through Congress.
“What’s overwhelmingly clear is that Trump coming to New Hampshire will only stoke further dangerous acts and threaten Americans’ safety. Our country deserves better in the Oval Office,” said Erin Turmelle, Booker’s New Hampshire campaign director, on Tuesday.
Turmelle said Trump’s rally on Aug. 15 at SNHU Arena in Manchester will fan flames of intolerance and the state should be spared of that right now.
“As we’ve seen repeatedly over the last few years, these rallies serve as a breeding ground for racism and bigotry that inspire white nationalist attacks like the one in El Paso on Saturday,” Turmelle said in a statement. “They are despicable and have no place in New Hampshire, or anywhere in our country. That’s why Trump must cancel this rally.
“Instead, Trump should call on Congress to take meaningful action on gun legislation. If he needs ideas, Cory Booker has the boldest plan of anyone to address gun violence, including by creating a federal licensing program that evidence shows is highly effective. But he could start with the background checks passed by House Democrats in February.”
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee condemned the statement of Booker’s campaign on the eve of President Trump’s planned visits to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, the scenes of two mass killings.
“While Cory Booker and 2020 Democrats scramble to politicize the tragic mass shootings, President Trump proposed commonsense, bipartisan solutions that should be taken seriously,” said RNC spokesman Nina McLaughlin. “Shame on Cory Booker for fueling the partisan flames with this ridiculous rhetoric.”
Sen. Booker, of New Jersey, is scheduled to return to campaign in New Hampshire two days after Trump’s planned visit.
Conservative independent activist Kimberly Morin said it’s Booker who’s revealed through this tragedy to be out of touch.
“@CoryBooker should cancel his candidacy. He’s going to LOSE anyway,” Morin tweeted. “It’s he and Democrats like him, along with MSM and left-wing loon pundits who LIE about what Trump says and THEY twist it into bigotry and racism.”
According to some gun control supporters, Booker and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have offered the most detailed gun control plans of all those running for President in 2020.
Booker, 50, a former mayor of Newark, N.J., seeks a federal gun licensing system and would limit buyers to one handgun per month and require owners to report lost or stolen guns.
A former attorney general and district attorney, Harris, 54, would give Congress 100 days to act on a gun control package.
If Congress failed to act, Harris said, she would take sweeping executive action mandating near-universal background checks, banning the importation of assault-style weapons and preventing dating partners convicted of domestic violence from purchasing guns.
In New Hampshire residents’ social media posts, some were calling on Trump to stay away even before Booker’s campaign waded into this controversy.
On Monday, liberal activist Bobbi Horne Boudman posted on Facebook that Trump shouldn’t come here.
“It needs to be cancelled. We cannot take the risk as there’s no reward for NH hosting this racist white man who incites terror,” Boudman posted.
None other than conservative talk show icon Rush Limbaugh predicted on Monday that these calls for Trump to stay away would occur.
“You watch, somebody’s gonna suggest Trump’s rallies not be allowed to happen now because that’s where all this is coming from,” Limbaugh said. “Never mind the fact that if you look at the manifesto of the shooter in Dayton you find a total deranged leftist progressive. But I don’t even want to use that.”
Former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, a Republican 2020 candidate for U.S. Senate, said everyone should come together with the President in the wake of these events.
“President Trump stated that in one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. I join that call to action,” O’Brien said in a statement.
“Instead of attacking the President of the United States on the eve of a visit to New Hampshire, the Democratic candidates for President would do better in joining him as part of that one voice.”
The campaign of the other declared U.S. Senate candidate, retired Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, a Republican, did issue a statement that urged Congress to act but to not go too far.
“I firmly believe Congress should convene immediately in special session to deal with these threats to public safety. The most important role of the federal government is national security. Vacations can wait,” Bolduc said.
In the same response, Bolduc cautioned lawmakers not to take away the liberties of Americans in the heat of the moment.
“Be it acts of domestic terror inspired by extreme ideology or the result of serious mental illness, we cannot legislate our way out of these problems by stripping away the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Bolduc said.
On Monday, the Hillsborough County GOP warned supporters that liberals would try to exploit these horrific events.
“The radical left has pounced on our latest national tragedies to seize your Second Amendment rights from you,” the group warned.
“Help us elect candidates that support the entire US and NH Constitution. Donate, or attend our event — a fun and safe exercise of our second amendment rights!”
The event the GOP group markets is a “full auto machine gun shoot” Aug. 24 at the Londonderry Fish and Game Club.
Presidential Democratic candidate New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand criticized the local party organization for promoting a machine gun shoot following these killings.
“The New Hampshire Republican Party is actually fundraising off the mass shootings that killed 31 people this weekend,” Gillibrand tweeted. “It’s incredible that this needs to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: If Republicans won’t fight to save Americans’ lives, they don’t deserve their votes.”