Former FBI Director James Comey wrote in a New York Times op-ed that President Donald Trump is using the “radioactive energy of racism” for political gain without realizing just how dangerous it is.
“America has long had a radioactive racist soup in the center of our national life. Donald Trump thinks he is stirring it for political benefit. He’s actually doing something more dangerous,” Comey wrote in the piece published Sunday, shortly after the deadly shooting in El Paso that killed 20 people and a separate one in Dayton that left 9 people dead.
Following the two “acts of domestic terrorism,” as they have been labeled by many, Trump tweeted, “God bless the people of El Paso Texas. God bless the people of Dayton, Ohio.”
In his piece, the former FBI director pointed out that it is the duty of every president to “say loudly and consistently that white supremacy is illegitimate, that encouraging a politics of racial resentment can spawn violence, and that violence aimed at people by virtue of their skin color is terrorism.”
He continued by directly addressing Trump, telling him that because of his rhetoric and actions, he owed the country more than just “condolences sent via Twitter.”
“You must stop trying to unleash and exploit the radioactive energy of racism,” Comey wrote, according to CNN, adding that while President Trump may believe his encouraging of racist chants and hate speech will benefit his re-election, what he is in fact doing is hurting the nation.
Comey concluded his op-ed by saying that “only fools believe they can ride the gamma rays of hate,” and suggesting that President Trump holds “the biggest control rod of all.”
“You must push it back into place, for all our sakes. The vast majority of Americans believe the core ideals of our founding documents and we expect our culture to reflect those ideals. Show us you believe in them, too,” Comey wrote.
The two deadly shootings provoked comments from a number of Democratic lawmakers, as well. Presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke on Sunday accused Trump of being a white nationalist.
The same day, the President acknowledged to reporters that “perhaps more has to be done” to tackle gun violence, stressing that “hate has no place in our country and we’re gonna take care of it.”