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Elizabeth Warren: Trump should not 'wink and nod and smile' about white supremacy

Updated 11:50 PM ET, Sun August 4, 2019

Washington (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Sunday said President Donald Trump should not "wink and nod and smile" about white supremacy in the wake of two mass shootings in the US in the span of 13 hours -- one massacre that involved a white supremacist suspect.

"White supremacy is a domestic terrorism threat in the same way that foreign terrorism threatens our people," the Massachusetts Democrat told CNN's Don Lemon on "CNN Tonight." "And it is the responsibility of the President of the United States to help fight back against that. Not to wink and nod and smile at it and let it get stronger in this country."

On Saturday, a shooter opened fire at an El Paso, Texas, shopping center, killing at least 20 people. A 21-year-old white supremacist is in custody in the Texas domestic terrorism case. Early Sunday, a shooter opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine people.

Trump made brief remarks about the attacks to reporters Sunday on a tarmac in New Jersey after a weekend spent at his golf club in Bedminster. "Hate has no place in our country and we're gonna take care of it," he said. The President didn't address questions related to white supremacy but told reporters "perhaps more has to be done" to address gun violence.

Reacting to Trump's remarks Sunday, Warren said "Donald Trump has created plenty of space for hate. He is a racist. He has made one racist remark after another. He has put in place racist policies. And we've seen the consequences of it."

"Hate crimes are up around this country," Warren added. "And people who are hateful feel like they are now empowered. They are protected. They celebrate this President."

Warren's criticism joins a crowd of Democrats who launched sharp attacks against Trump after the shootings. Democratic presidential candidate and El Paso native Beto O'Rourke told CNN's Jake Tapper earlier Sunday that he views Trump as a white nationalist.

"The things that he has said both as a candidate and then as the President of the United States, this cannot be open for debate," O'Rourke said.

Beyond Trump, Warren criticized the larger Republican party Sunday for the "terrible direction" she says America is headed.

"Let's be clear: a Republican Congress, Republican leadership in Washington, they got nothing to say about it. And that means they just help strengthen it. They help it keep moving right along," she said. It's time to fight back against this."

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