WASHINGTON — Voto Latino President Maria Teresa Kumar said Democrats “missed opportunities” to pass an assault weapons ban as well as immigration reform when they had a supermajority under former President Obama but they didn’t expect an “extreme individual” to win the presidency, referring to President Trump.
After the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Kumar joined other liberal activists to call for the Senate to pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which was approved by the House.
“I think the challenge is that there were so many things that were broken that were inherited that there’s so much time, and I think that there were a lot of missed opportunities, not just on that, but comprehensive reform, also under Bush, absolutely,” she said following a rally outside of the White House on Tuesday with progressive groups such as Planned Parenthood Action Fund and MoveOn.org.
“But we never expected an extreme individual that does not believe Republican or Democrat, but only holds himself accountable to himself and his autocracy, to ever sit in the Oval Office and so it’s time for Americans as patriots to unify and let’s get back to actually having ideological discussions. Let’s go back to talking about policy,” she added.
According to a CNN report, the Dayton shooter had tweeted “extreme left views” in the past. The man who carried out the El Paso shooting reportedly wrote an anti-immigrant manifesto before the tragedy and had tweeted about supporting President Trump. Some activists at the rally blamed the shooting, in part, on Trump’s rhetoric regarding illegal immigration. Kumar was asked about the former campaign volunteer for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who shot Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) in 2017. The man had posted that “Republicans are the Taliban of the USA” months before carrying out the shooting.
“When his [Trump] crowds start chanting ‘send them back’ he doesn’t say anything, he sits back,” Kumar said. “When folks say, ‘well, no one blamed Bernie,’ it’s because Bernie and the Democrats and a bipartisan Congress in the House, bipartisan Congress, actually passed gun reform and it’s right now stagnant because Mitch McConnell refuses to put it up for a vote.”