Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) also blamed absent fathers in an attempt to shift blame for recent mass shootings away from Trump's racist rhetoric.
In a Friday appearance on Fox News, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) accused those who criticize Trump's racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric of exploiting the tragedies in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, where more than 30 people were murdered.
"In times of political activity, people can capitalize on these moments of tragedy for their own gain," Gaetz said on television, seeming to capitalize on a moment of tragedy to share his thoughts.
Gaetz specifically called out some in the media and Democratic candidates for noting the role Trump's racist language played, especially in the El Paso shooting.
The alleged shooter in El Paso, a white man, told police that he walked into a Walmart with an assault rifle and specifically targeted "Mexicans." The gunman killed 22 people in the attack, making it the deadliest hate crime targeting Latinos, according to the L.A. Times.
The alleged gunman used anti-immigrant rhetoric, including invoking a fear of "the Hispanic invasion of Texas" that mirrors language used by Trump and Fox News personalities.
In another part of the interview, Gaetz gave his own analysis as "the real challenges" the country needs to overcome to stop mass shootings.
Gaetz pinned the blame on a "collapse of fatherhood in this country."
"You look at these mass shooters, very rarely do you see a positive, productive relationship with a father figure," he said.
Gaetz did not provide any evidence linking racist terror attacks to a lack of a father figure. Instead, he once again attacked Trump's critics, saying, "It's just easier for the political left to scapegoat the president."
Fatherless homes join a long list of Republican excuses for mass shootings that have nothing to do with either the ease of accessing guns nor Trump's encouragement of vile hatred. Other excuses include video games, the media, lack of school prayer, President Obama, and even "drag queen advocates."
The fact that Gaetz would defend Trump's racism is nothing new. Gaetz admitted in March that his purpose in Congress is to defend Trump. "I don't know how I'd fit into this place in the absence of the president," Gaetz said at the time.
And if defending Trump means defending white supremacist rhetoric that inspires a terrorist attack, then Gaetz will run to Fox News and fulfill the role he created for himself.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.