Are you hiring with indeed. You can post a job in minutes set up screener questions then zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started today. Indeed dot com slash powerhouse. That's indeed dot com slash powerhouse <music> welcome to powerhouse politics. I'm a._b._c. news political director recline and i'm a._b._c. Senior congressional correspondent. Mary bruce and it's been a somber and a sobering week here. In washington antony across the country as we mourn the massive loss of life from these two shootings one in texas one in ohio happen just out within hours of each other of course after another shooting a week earlier in california and it has sparked a big nationwide discussion debate around gun policy and quite a bit more than that mary this has been a a week where we have been debating of the meaning of words the meaning of rhetoric and the and whether the president of the united states deserves any culpability in an inspiring mass shooter and rick in so many ways unfortunately the response that we've seen this week does feel all too familiar right we are we are once once again plunged back into a conversation about gun control about mental health health about what this country if anything is going to do to stop this horrific rise in gun violence but yet there is something that feels different this time around and part of that i think is this conversation that you referenced that we are having about the power of words about the role that we expect our political leaders to play in setting a tone and tenor and the danger <hes> those words can have when <hes> misconstrued construed when they are not used to unite the country but he divide the country and it has lit a spark the question now is whether anything is going to change and and it puts this president under a very harsh spotlight <hes> this is one of the more consequential days of his presidency president trump as we speak is visiting a hospital and victims families in dayton ohio <hes> he'll be heading later in the day to el paso we have not seen this president <hes> quite frankly <hes> rise rise to the occasion of consoler in chief the way we've seen previous presidents do it and it has been an item that the twenty twenty candidates are talking about. We're gonna talk about how it's recast and recalibrated the race in a few moments omits but but keeping our focus i with the president mary he he did have an initial speech on on monday that <hes> seemed rips out of the teleprompter directly to the camera <hes> talking about the need for the country to come together cast aside partisanship but it didn't it didn't last and it seems to nevertheless with this as president and he did come out and forcefully condemn racism say that things need to change call for urgent change call for a bipartisan push to to do you something to prevent this kind of violence. It's always the follow through with donald trump that creates problems because he does deliver speech that you know at face value l. u. On paper when you listen to it is exactly what you would expect a president to say the question is whether his actions back it up and in this instance says he's about to board the plane to go to ohio how he <hes> seemed to focus on one of the shootings more than the other take a listen if you look at dayton. That was the person that supported i guess you would say a <hes> bernie sanders. I understood antifa. I understood elizabeth warren i understood had nothing to do with president trump off and a big difference between shooting ohio and then one in texas and they get lumped together because of the timeline is that <hes> in texas the stated motivations of the shooter were very a political he wrote a long screed <hes> that that referenced a lot of things that president trump has done and said and and <hes> vowed white supremacists in in the case of ohio in dayton it appears that this is someone had had left leaning political views that did not seem to be a factor in in what would let him to pull trigger and the big picture here i think ink is that you so quickly. See the political fingerpointing of course the fallout of these horrific events are often viewed through a political lens but here you have you know and and it is on both sides i mean you did see democrats very quick to point a finger at the president at his rhetoric given the fact that the shooter in texas who went in with the clear clear intent of killing essentially many mexicans as possible <hes> but using some language that seemed very similar to the president's <hes> taking some inspiration from some of the president's rhetoric and then on the flip side. You have the president quick to point the finger at the left for for perhaps some of the motivation behind the shooting in ohio okay oh and it just gets very ugly very quickly especially when you consider that these are leaders who are supposed to be healing a nation and to take the conversation to what the healing me look like in terms of policy in terms of bipartisanship. The president is saying that he intends to support new gun legislation. Take a listen. There's a great happen and i mean a very strong appetite for background checks and i think we could bring up background. Check like we've had before. I think both republicans and democrats regret are getting close to bill on doing something back there. I'm mary the have we heard anything like this. In the past of the seems vaguely uh remnant of other things that might have been said this is exactly <hes> in almost word for word what we have heard from the president after previous shootings well. Let's just take a listen the what he said after the parkland shooting last year what we're gonna do a lot but we are going to be very strong on background checks. I've spoken with many of our people in congress. Our senators senators our congressmen and women and there's a movement onto get something done. We want to be very powerful on background checks <hes> when we're dealing with the mentally ill as we were in this last case. He was a very sick person and somebody that should have been nabbed. I guess they had thirty nine different occasions. Were able to see him or potentially see him. We want to be very powerful very strong on background checks and especially as it pertains to the mentally ill so of course that was the president a year and a half ago. <hes> nothing came of that call today. He is reiterating it again and remember. This is what the overwhelming majority of americans americans are looking for. We know there is huge support for increasing background checks <hes> this is many what americans are asking for what they want to be hearing. The question is the follow through and let's talk about the follow through because the politics of gun control have been stubbornly calcified for decades now and the the response after just about everyone of these mass shootings and you have this moment of mourning in introspection is has been one of wow. Why does this not happen anywhere else and shouldn't there be something something that's done and then and then people move on what's the the realistic portrait now mary their their number of pieces of legislation that are floating around there were a couple of passed passed the house that would specifically deal with different elements of background checks but what's what realistically talking about well there are these bills that are in the house they pass through the house with a narrow amount of bipartisan support the would require universal background checks those measures that we know so many americans are looking for but they've been sitting mitch mcconnell's desk since february and they have not been been brought up for a vote democrats now of course are demanding <hes> that mitch mcconnell bring lawmakers back from recess here to washington to have a vote on this legislation and we have seen and you know a slowly growing number of republicans coming out in the last few days and voicing support for some kind of strengthened background checks now the president saying that they're close to getting this done that might be a bit of a stretch but but there is you know we are hearing calls from capitol hill to do something there recent bipartisan support for doing something. The question is what are you going to do and there are a lot of proposals and which one gets action and notably congressman mike turner from from dayton is among those whose now saying that <hes> that <hes> though he's a conservative second amendment <hes> backing republican. He does think that there needs to be ruined for new legislation. I think there's a sense that if the president said and this is what i am going to support that could change votes. Well and that's part of the problem here is that capitol hill again is looking to the white house for some direction and so there are a range of options on the hill but the president needs to put some political muscle behind one of these and i think if the president came out strongly sort of put the pressure on republicans republicans on capitol hill gave them some cover to say look this is okay. We're going to do this now. That would mean a lot but until he does that. I have a really hard time seeing mitch mcconnell suddenly changing course and pushing firmly for stricter background. Check these two house back bills one of them universal background checks the other <hes> strengthening the f._b._i.'s ability to conduct the background checks so-called charleston loophole that would extend the f._b._i.'s timeline to to to take someone <hes> <music> someone's background information and process it separate than that though we've heard a lot of talk about so-called red flag laws which are done at the state level not at the federal level but there's talk about a a a bill that the senate rubio senator graham have have backed that would essentially make it easier to flag individuals that might have mental mental problems tmz. I'm curious on this. If this is where republicans wind up landing as opposed to more stringent gun control this is one of those measures that that right now seems may stand the the best chance of actually getting through congress right now <hes> we've seen the number two republican in the senate john thune come out and say that he thinks there is an ability to get some common ground round on this issue. It does also seem that the president is open to this given his recent statements. We know that lindsey graham of course one of the president's top allies has put four some legislation on this and as you mentioned what these laws would do is essentially make it easier to take guns away or keep them out of the hands of people who seem seem to pose an imminent danger it would allow family members or police officer officers to go to the courts and get essentially a temporary order to take away firearms from people who seem to pose the threat. <hes> democrats are on board with this. They think it's a great idea they think of course that it falls far far short and that more needs to be done but in the current political climate <hes> it seems teams that that <hes> stands a better chance right now today a of seeing more momentum then then background checks yeah i'll be curious to see if the democrats sort of left the republicans off the hook on that and and and back that if that's the only thing that can actually pass. Let's talk twenty twenty mary because it's only a week ago that the democrats of wrapped up their second series of debates. It's <hes> we were both there in detroit. When the main thing being policy item that the democrats argued over was healthcare and how to achieve universal healthcare healthcare do you do with obamacare or medicare for all and whether barack obama's presidency <hes> was essentially liberal enough that is ancient history is like a lifetime go right the campaign totally reset over the weekend among other things democrats remembering that they agree on a whole lot more than they disagree including being the urgency of defeating president trump and i think we've seen a resurgence of one candidate particular. El paso's own beto o'rourke who has taken himself off the campaign trail trail. He's not even going to the iowa state fair. He's been tangling with the president. I in part because he's going there. He's going there directly. Take a listen. You know he's been saying he's he's. He's been calling mexican immigrants rapists and criminals <hes> i. I don't know like members of the press. What the hold on a second i. It's these questions you know the answers to connect the dots about what he's been doing in this country <hes> he's not tolerating. Racism is promoting racism. He's is not tolerating violence. He's inciting. Racism and violence in this country in the question was pretty innocuous. One just basically what what else did the president you could do but clearly his <hes> his passions passions are real on this and he's come out and said the president is an open and avowed racist. He's a white supremacist in his rhetoric leads to violence as direct as i can recall call any anytime a candidate for president laying tragedy at the president's feet directly and you can hear that for beto rourke. This is raw. All this is personal. You can hear the anger and frustration in his voice. I mean this is his hometown but what's interesting is the response has been very quick not not just and and this is from the candidates across the board now just you immediately go to that kind of familiar conversation about gun control measures and mental health and what can be done legislatively but personal personal attacks on the president and his leadership all of the twenty twenty candidates using this as an opportunity to essentially cast president trump as unfit to lead this nation. That's that's right. I think almost that directly in the move very quickly from gun control to this to this broader conversation. I also think it's an opportunity an a an opportunity for voice to be heard for <hes> for the former hud secretary leon costra. Who's the only latino in this race he's also from the state of texas. This area formed formed former mayor of of san antonio <hes> and his point that there's something different about the attack and el paso and the way it links up to the president's rhetoric eric for a president now to base his entire political strategy on turning the latino community and especially recent immigrants into the other into the danger toward america <hes>. It doesn't belong in this country. He doesn't belong as president and you know. That's one of the reasons i know that but i'm running to replace him and i bet that a lot of other people who are in this race feel the same way mary bruce. I'm curious how the latino community broadly reacts to this because you have in this case someone who said he was he wanted to go someplace that he could shoot a lot of mexicans directly targeting people because of their ethnic background a no choosing a location in el paso so hundreds of miles from where he lived in the dallas area because he thought there'd be a lot of mexicans. They are literally you can see mexico from the parking lot of this walmart and you can only imagine jin the level of real fear that so many of these communities are feeling today real fear and concern that the president essentially doesn't doesn't have their backs in this fight and i think it's important to remember that it was not too long ago that we were talking about the president you know making comments about four congresswoman of color saying that they i should go back to the countries that they came from even though three of the four of them were born here in the u._s. and of course that clip that we now have seen and heard <hes> over the past several days the president rally where where someone suggested that immigrants should be shot and the president didn't tell them to cut it out or step in and intervene and so this is why the president is in such a difficult a position and why i think so many americans are wondering. Is this going to change. How much impact does the president's rhetoric really have. How much can you hold him responsible <hes> and going forward is he going to dial it back when it seems that so far it is part of his political strategy to try and some ways to to exploit divisions in this country for political gain and i want to turn the conversation to the former vice president joe biden because it seems like it's a major moment for him as well he of course is is white male. He's not he's not a caller a._t. Can't relate in the same way but he lost his campaign. His campaign video was about charlottesville about the very fine people on both sides line from the president <hes> and he has made clear this campaign is about trying to restore the moral fabric of america and this is what he has had to say. This is hatred pure. It's simple and it's being fueled by rhetoric that is so divisive and it's causing causing people to die and once again laying it at the president's didn't speak directly today. I mean he took it up. A notch even further he laid attacks against president that i think are further than he's gone before i mean when he said today in a speech in iowa that the president has no moral leadership that he that trump has no interest in unifying the nation ticket step back that is pretty harsh. <hes> language against the president and biden is seizing the moment to once again cast himself in many ways <hes> as the great unifier as the adult in the room as the proven leader peter who can come back in and be that consoler in chief that he says trump cannot we should also this this the events over the weekend prompted barack barack obama to break his relative political silence a long statement that he put out did not mention president trump by name but man it didn't have to it was clear what he was talking talking about and calling on americans that repudiate the words that are that are fueling the heat and fueling the violence and a lot of people continue to ask what what obama's next act will be. How involved would be in this. I've talked to obama aides say that he does not want to get into a firing match with president trump that trump. That's exactly what he wants yet. He felt in this moment moment. He couldn't stay away and i think you have to remember how deeply personal in many ways all of these events are barack obama. This antioch shooting was the worst day of his presidency. <hes> we saw over and over again obama put in a position of having to go to these communities much the same donald trump is today to try and console yet got another grieving community and for him. I think it is incredibly rare for him to speak out. He clearly felt compelled that this was an incident where are two incidents where he couldn't simply stay on the sidelines but he doesn't want to get into a political tit for tat with donald trump and yet that's exactly what happened. Donald trump quickly tweeted out <hes> sort sort of slamming obama for for taking him on on this issue and noting that you know bush never slammed obama for his handling of so many of these shootings and and i don't think you're going to hear much more from obama but he does choose his moments carefully and he did not mention trump by name but man the message was loud and clear and some echoes of obama. We should should mention in cory booker who <hes> of course an african american senator from new jersey he chose the site of horrible massacre and also one of the best remembered moments of the obama presidency the charleston ame church. That was the site of that awful shooting. We've remember president obama when he addressed the nation from that. I think it goes is one of the top three or four moments of the obama presidency the the ones that are clipped for history of this was cory booker what he had to say this sir today this wednesday morning it was sold by those who spoke of an infestation of disgusting cities rats and rodents talking about majority majority minority communities it was sold by those who've drawn between neo nazis and those who protests that it was sold from the highest office in our land we see in tweets and rhetoric hateful words that ultimately endanger the lives of people in our country people of color immigrants all you can hear it in cory booker's voice the way that he felt this and the way that so many people in that church and across the country have felt this moment and mary the political question for me is how how long this moment lasts how relevant and resonant it is because like so many things in this new cycle we move on people move on this president is great at capturing a new cycle and moving us in different directions but if if the if the populace of this country seems to feel the way it does for a moment like this come election day next year. That's a much different calculus for president. Is it in trump than if we've moved on to other things yeah and so often in the past we've seen a lot of it depends on how the public keeps up this conversation right after parkland we saw so many members of that community so many students just intent on not letting this conversation die. It depends on what happens on the hill. I mean they are out in recess until after labor day. <hes> are democrats able to keep up the political pressure on republicans to act on this and in terms of what happens out on the campaign trail. I think one of the interesting things about this issue is it's not necessarily barely an issue that a lot of people vote on <hes> it is important to a lot of voters but when you ask voters you know what's the number one issue for you at the top of your mind. When you go into the into the ballot box you often your healthcare are you don't hear gun control. You don't hear <hes> you know voting for someone because of their plan to tackle rising gun violence is that changing and what impact will that have. I think that depends on on this voter driven conversation in many ways. We're going to get quick break when we come back. We're going to check in with one of our campaign reporters on the trail. She has been in el paso passo all week. One of the reporters who was on the scene and been following all the developments stay tuned when it comes to hiring you don't have time to waste you need would help getting to your shortlist of qualified candidates fast. That's why you need indeed dot com post a job. In minutes set up screener questions then zero in on qualified candidates using an intuitive would've online dashboard and when you need to hire fast accelerate your results with sponsor jobs new users can try it for free at indeed dot com slash powerhouse. That's indeed dot com home. Slash powerhouse terms conditions and quality standards apply better help offers licensed professional counselors specialized in a wide array of issues like depression anxiety and grief connect with your professional counselor and a safe private online environment. It's a truly affordable option and listeners can get ten percent <music> off your first month by going to better help dot com slash powerhouse fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with a counselor. You'll love and welcome back to powerhouse politics pleased to be joined now by lucette rodriguez one of our a campaign reporters one of the so-called embeds who've been out there covering this and she was out in nevada covering a presidential form over the weekend. When the news broke in el paso she quickly got on the first flight that she'd get there was one of the first reporters of moore's national reporters reporters on the ground and she also covers the campaign among others endless. What has it been like. I mean thinking about this. You're you're obviously you're covering politics but this is a this is much bigger than that of the sights and sounds that you've seen over the couple of days. How people been processing the news in el paso. I think the the main thing that i keep hearing hearing from people is one. They're shocked that this massacre would happen here but to that. They almost don't know how to feel. They don't know how the process their emotions. They don't know if they should be upset. Sad angry or just numb <hes> and it's a lot of people just trying to figure how you know what am i feeling and what should i do these emotions right now. You know we see the conversation happening back here in washington the bigger political conversation especially surrounding rounding the president's <hes> rhetoric. Is that a conversation. That's happening on the ground as well or is that something that that's really only happening at the fifty thousand feet seat view. It is absolutely happening here. I mean as soon as we heard the news that president trump would be visiting paso <hes> me and my collie around talking to el paso and <hes> throughout the this town asking you know how are you feeling and what does how do you feel about president from coming. A lot of people were bewildered. They don't understand why he would come here because they feel like his rhetoric. In some part caused what happened l. paso and the bigger picture here is that people are definitely talking about gun legislation. We've talked to people <hes> veterans earned an especially who say you know. I am for gun rights. I have a concealed carry permit <hes> but i don't think people should have thought weapons and let's say <hes> how in terms of the politics of this we've seen one of the candidates you cover bets o'rourke who's from el paso amazingly passionate really fired up sometimes sometimes explicitly so <hes> you got a beep bleep. Some of his words like we did earlier in the show talking about this. He has truly truly reset his campaign around this around el paso around the president's rhetoric and this is a we we know beto is a kind of cautious politician at times <hes> <hes> and i think that was on display as recently as debates last week. He has thrown caution to the wind. It seems to me in these last couple of days. What what's the campaign telling you about how he is feeling about this and and how he views this moment he views this as a time where he has to be home <hes> he told us just you know an hour or two ago that he actually won't be going to the iowa state fair that he was scheduled to speak at <hes> friday morning so he told us that he it has not thought about when he will return to the campaign trail <hes> because it to him it is important to be with his old pass owens and how's what was the reaction been to to his. I think new tone out on the campaign trail has it been well received by his supporters down there. Do they think he's going going too far. I mean he's been pretty political in his attacks against the president. He has been very political but the people here i i mean they. They love at all they do and they appreciate that he is calling out president trump for what they think was the language and the actions that that causes someone to come in shoe people because they were mexican. People here are very supportive of him. Just an hour ago when we were at his event people held a prayer trey your circle with him and prayed for him to win this election to represent paso and the light that they think it should be represented and and and finally wanna talk paso because it is. There's a power powerful symbolism in the city. The president chose it in a single city out and chose it for a rally to to try to make his political points. We remember the vets. Roy did a counter rally but it truly is a city of immigrants people pass awesome is referring to it as a modern day ellis island i in in in in this in this case <hes> when with the initial outrage and shock and horror around all of it the idea that mexicans and mexican americans were targeted simply because they are that's gotta be of special and specific residents to people on the ground. Yeah i'm sorry to get personal but mexican-american myself and there are so many people here who are bilingual only speak spanish or have these he's immigrant backgrounds and they themselves feel targeted and they have told us that they don't know that they feel safe to be outside but it's really striking to see how the people here have come together to to tell everyone here. We are here for one another and we are truly al paso strong all right. Let's set rodriguez. Thank you into our entire team. That's out there covering this story. I know it's been a gut wrenching couple of days and you're doing terrific work other. You're on the ground so best to you into the team. Thank you thank you and mary i you know this isn't the first time of the trump presidency of any presidency where we've uttered the words that this it's time feels different and i it's. It's shocks me personally how quickly i forget that feeling as a reporter as a political reporter are moving onto the next story because the news cycle moves moves just with this intense in in in saint speed president trump is seems like the only one often that can keep up with it and keeps the direct it is a real test of leadership in the country to see how long the moment lasts than what the moment means yeah and i think what's different about this. One in some some ways is the response is the fact that you see so many political leaders and that's partly because we are in the middle of a presidential campaign seizing this moment and saying we're not gonna let this just blow by. We're not gonna just say oh. Congress is going to do anything and move onto the next subject the next headline <hes> the question of course is how long are they going to keep that up but for so many people this is this is tough stuff and it is deeply emotional it is deeply personal and it keeps happening over and over and over oregon and we don't see any movement at all you see a lot of talk very little no political action and what is different about this time is that the level of frustration seems to get ratcheted up every time we see another one of these incidents and you just hope that that means that eventually <hes> we won't be having this conversation again. Dan and it's and it's a reminder of the another thing that makes it different is that you have a president who speaks in a different way and in an often outrageous and outlandish windisch way about immigrants about others that views political battles as as all consuming and all important and cast it in that way and look we've had had trump supporters point this out the president himself pointing out that george w bush never blame barack obama for the charleston shooting. Well you know barack. Obama didn't incite violence in any way like this didn't say things that could be construed in that way and i look i i think it is a fair point to say the president pulling triggers <hes> of course that's true and to is to directly that because someone said something someone else did something else that is that is not a a fair through line to draw but if if if you listen to what the president says it is it is a fair a fair conclusion to draw <hes> that that that there are the people that could hear that and decide to act on it in unstable in awful ways and i we we're beyond the point of thinking of the president's gonna change the way he speaks except he's not going to suddenly say you know what i was right. You're you're right. I was wrong. I shouldn't have said those things clearly. That's that's done but his reaction still is critical. Oh he's still the president and the way he conducts himself in these hours in these days. I think we'll be defining for him. Yeah and you all right. He is not going to change <hes> and it is a difficult process to go through to see all of the political fingerpointing because for communities that are grieving communities that are in fear. <hes> political fingerpointing isn't much solace. You just hope that the political fingerpointing reaches such a level that it does lead to action that it does lead to something that can bring some comfort to this country country. We'll just have to wait and see yeah in the in the context of the twenty twenty campaign. The race looks a lot different today than it did a week ago in the wake of the second series of debates thank you to mary bruce. Thank you to our entire team. Trevor hastings angie yack avery miller to lucette for dialing in and for the her colleague jeff cook for helping out on the ground as well that does it for this edition of powerhouse politics. We'll be back next week with another addition. Stay tuned. Are you hiring hiring with indeed. You can post a job in minutes set up screener questions. Then zero in on your shortlist of qualified candidates using an online dashboard get started today at indeed dot com slash powerhouse. That's indeed dot com slash powerhouse.