President Donald Trump has answered recent gun violence in the US by pledging to work with Congress on legislation to address mental health care, before adding that he would defend gun owners’ rights.
“We are working very hard to make sure we keep guns out the hands of insane people,” Trump said on Thursday at a campaign rally in New Hampshire.
“It’s not the gun that pulls the trigger. It is the person holding the gun,” Trump said, hewing closely to the position of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Earlier on Thursday, Trump told reporters he supported “background checks” but he did not endorse legislation Democrats want to advance in Congress when it reconvenes in September.
“We will always uphold the right to self-defence. We will always uphold the Second Amendment,” said the president, drawing sustained applause from the crowd of supporters.
Trump spoke at a packed arena in Manchester, New Hampshire, a state that was pivotal to his winning the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, but where he will face a different challenge in the 2020 general election.
Attacking Omar, Tlaib
Trump made only one mention of Congress Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat he had targeted earlier in the day in a tweet, suggesting Israel should ban her and Representative Rashida Tlaib from visiting Palestinian communities.
Shortly afterwards, Israel did so.
‘Not deterred’: A defiant Ilhan Omar vows to fight Trump
Earlier in the day, Trump had harshly characterised the two first-year House members for their criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and support for the BDS economic boycott.
“They are very anti-Jewish and they’re very anti-Israel. I think it’s disgraceful the things they’ve said” Trump had told reporters. “They’ve become the face of the Democratic Party.”
Omar said Israel’s decision was “an insult to democratic values” and compared it to Trump’s Muslim travel ban.
Trump used most of his rally to defend his handling of the US economy, which has come under criticism in recent days as volatility in US stock and bond markets signalled recession fears.
Trump said his trade pressure tactics are working on China, even though the two sides remain far apart on a deal with a resumption in talks scheduled for September.
He said Chinese currency devaluations are “going to hurt them badly” over time and force Beijing to make concessions.
“They’re going to make a deal,” he said.
Many analysts believe the tariffs he has imposed on Chinese products are responsible for a slowing of the US economy because the increased costs are being passed on to American consumers.
Trump disagreed, saying of the Chinese: “They’re eating the tariffs, by the way”.
“There’s no price increase.”
Even though he won New Hampshire in the 2016 Republican primary, Trump lost by about 2,700 votes in the 2016 general election. The state is doing well economically, at least when using broad measures. Beneath the top-line data are clear signs that the prosperity is being unevenly shared.
A University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll conducted earlier this month found that 42 percent of New Hampshire adults approve of Trump while 53 percent disapprove. Yet, the poll also showed that 49 percent approve of Trump’s handling of the economy and 44 percent disapprove.
Al Jazeera and news agencies