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Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said Monday that President Donald Trump's call for immigration reform in the wake of two weekend mass shootings that left 31 dead reminded the Judiciary Committee chairman of Nazi Germany.
In response to the two shootings, in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Trump proposed earlier in the day that lawmakers pair "strong background checks" on gun owners with immigration reform. He also accused the news media of contributing "greatly to the anger and rage that has built up" in the country.
"What's the connection between background checks for guns and immigration reform? That we have to keep guns out of the hands of the invading hordes, of less-than-human people coming across our borders? That's the implication," Nadler said, echoing some of the president's past rhetoric comparing migrants to invaders. "It's disgusting — it reminds me of the 1930s in Germany."
Nadler's comments came during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
The suspect in the El Paso shooting is a 21-year-old white male named Patrick Crusius, who is from Dallas. Crusius is believed to have written a diatribe, published minutes before the shooting, that mimicked the president's rhetoric about immigration, including a reference to "Hispanic invasion." Authorities said Crusius, who is in custody, is being investigated as a domestic terrorist and could face hate crimes charges.
The Ohio shooter was killed at the scene by police after fatally shooting nine people. Authorities identified him as 24-year-old Connor Betts, and said a motive was not yet known.
Both gunmen bought their weapons legally.
The White House did not return a request for comment, though Trump condemned white supremacy during a televised address later Monday.
"The shooter in El Paso posted a manifesto online, consumed by racist hate. And one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America. Hatred warps the mind, ravages the hear, and devours the soul," Trump said.
"The president's reaction should be shocking, except he cannot shock anymore," Nadler said. "He can't go lower than he's been. To link — these shootings were clearly at least in part the result of his racist rhetoric, that's clear. His divisive and racist rhetoric — people have warned that they would lead to violence, and now they have."
Nadler's comments came ahead of sentencing, scheduled for Monday, of domestic terrorist Cesar Sayoc, a right-wing radical who was convicted of mailing improvised explosives to critics of the president and the news media last year. No one was injured and none of the explosives detonated.
Nadler chairs the committee that would begin impeachment proceedings. As of last week, a majority of House Democrats have said they support beginning an impeachment inquiry. Nadler said Monday that if the committee approves articles of impeachment, it will likely happen in the "latter part of the year."