President Trump said that guns were not to blame for the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters in Japan during the first leg of his trip through Asia, Trump adopted a familiar GOP mass-shooting talking point.
“I think that mental health is your problem here,” Trump said. “Based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems for a long period of time.”
“This isn’t a guns situation,” Trump added.
Details are still trickling out about Devin Kelley, the 26-year-old suspect in Sunday’s shooting, which left 26 people dead. He served in the Air Force until being convicted of domestic violence in 2012, after which he was given a “bad conduct” discharge. But much else about him remains unknown.
It’s no shock that Trump, who has espoused an anti–gun regulation philosophy since the beginning of his presidential candidacy, would seek to deflect blame away from firearms. But the pivot is in some ways a curious one, since GOP policy, at least at the national level, isn’t just pro-gun, but also rigorously anti–mental health.