When he said after Charlottesville, there were, and I quote, very fine people on both sides.
I said then it gave license and safe harbor to white supremacists and neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. These words not always done in America, but they stun the world. And in doing so, he assigned a moral equivalence, a moral equivalence between those spewing hate. And those are the courage to stand against it.
I said at the time, we're in a battle for the soul of this nation. I said it again when I announce my candidacy. And I say here today we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. That's why primarily I'm running for president.
Charlottesville Charlottesville was no isolated incident. When Trump announced he was running for president, he called Mexicans rapists. Days before the midterm, he four-minute fears of a caravan heading to the United States, creating a stereo, a stereo.
When he said, look, look, guys, marching up, this is an invasion, an invasion.
He asserted that immigrants would, quote, carve you up with a knife. More recently, he called American a major American center city, a disgusting rat infected rodent mess.
No human being, he said, would choose to live as though the vibrant, diverse community around Baltimore somehow was less than human. At a rally in Florida, when asked the crowd, how do we stop these people, meaning immigrants? Someone yell back, shoot them. And he smiled. In North Carolina, he basked in the chance to send her back, echoing across the stadium. How far is it from Trump saying this is an invasion? To the shooter in El Paso, declaring, quote, This attack is a response to Hispanic invasion of Texas.
How far apart are those comments? How far is it from white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville? Trump's very fine people chanting You will replace us to the shooter. At the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh saying we're committing genocide, Jews are committing genocide on his people.
I don't think it's that far at all. Is both clear language and in code, this prison has fanned the flames of white supremacy in this nation. His low energy. Vacant eyed, mouthing the words written for him, condemning white supremacists this week. I don't believe fooled anyone at home or abroad. His energetic embrace. The analogy is of this president. By the darkest hearts and most hate filled minds in this country, say it all. When the white nationalist Richard Spencer celebrated Trump's election by declaring Heil Trump.
All right. Conference where the Nazi salute was being used. In Charlottesville. David Duke, the former leader of the KKK, said this is why we voted for Donald Trump, because he said he's going to take back the country.
After Trump tweeted his. Go back screed, a leading Nazi Web site, neo-Nazi Web site said this is the kind of nationalism we elected him for. He knows it. He saw. And on a Charn, a haven for radicalism on the Internet. Where a declaration of hate link to El Paso shooter was posted. One commentator wrote that Trump is helping normalize the most extreme radical sentiments because his perceived authority carries so much weight. We have a problem with this rising tide of supremacy, white supremacy in America.
And we have a president who encourages and emboldens. The statistics are clear. Extremism is on the rise in America. The Southern Poverty Center finds that of the 1020 hate groups operating in the United States in 2018. That's how many there are. They pointed out that white nationalist groups have surged by over 50 percent. In 2017. An active shooter with ties to white extremism. Claimed 135 victims. And 70 kill. According to the Anti-Defamation League. All but one of the 50 extremists linked murders counted in 2018 had direct links to white supremacist.
His own FBI director. Recently testified to Congress. That extreme white right wing groups, white nationalist, pose the greatest threat to racially motivated domestic terrorism. And what is Trump done? He's poured fuel on the fire. He's re-Tweeted postings from extremists and white nationalists. He's cutting funding. In some cases completely eliminating funding initiated by Barach, by the president and I in our administration to counter violent extremism at home. Trump readily, eagerly attacks Islamic terrorism, but can barely bring himself to use the words white supremacy.
And even when he says it, he doesn't appear to believe it. He seems more concerned about losing their votes. Then beating back this hateful ideology. He says guns are not the problem in mass shootings. The issue is mental health. It's a dodge hatred. Isn't a mental health issue. I can tell you. As the guy along with Senator Dianne Feinstein got the assault weapons ban, the high capacity magazines banned in this country for 10 years. If elected president, we will do it again.
We will do it again. A hundred rounds and day. 30 round clips, no passing. There'll be banned. And when we do it. We'll put in place a buyback program to get as many of these military style weapons of war as possible off the street. And we need we need a domestic terrorism law. We can do without infringing on anyone's free speech. Without tampering with anybody's liberties. Quite simply, we have to make the same commitment as a nation to root out domestic terrorism.
We have to stopping international terrorist. I wish I could say that this all began with Donald Trump. It will end with him. But it didn't. And I won't. American history is not a fairy tale. The battle for the soul of the nation has been a constant push and pull for two hundred and forty three years between the American ideal that says we're all created equal and the harsh reality that racism. As long torn us apart. The same document.
That promise to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. Also allowed for slavery. In the so-called three fifths compromise. That discounted the very humanity of black people in America. The time. The honest truth is both elements are part of the American character. At our best, the American ideal wins out. But it's never a route. It's always a fight. It's a battle that is never fully finished. Go back to the beginning. Thomas Jefferson wrote what many believed to be the most important document, civil document in human history.
He was a slaveholder. We've never lived up to our American ideals. Jefferson himself didn't. But what he wrote has pulled us towards justice for more than two centuries, and it still does. Remains this nation's north star. Take a look at the clan. Glucose play. After the civil war, we saw a rise in the Klan. It was beaten down only to rise up again in the 20s. In fact, in August of nineteen twenty five thirty thousand fully clad Klansmen in their robes and pointed hats marched down Pennsylvania Avenue.
The streets of Washington. Imagine imagine that today. And then the clan was once again beaten back as it was after the Civil War. How? The courts, the press and yes, presidents stood against them. And that is the point. Our institutions often imperfectly. Stood against hate at moments when we were most tested. American presidents have stepped up in the past. George H.W. Bush. Renouncing his membership in the NRA, President Clinton after Oklahoma City.
George W. Bush going to a mosque after 9/11. President Obama after Charleston. Presidents who led, who oppose. Chose to fight for what the best of American character is about. There's deafening silence. Sadly, we don't have that today. Our president is aligned himself the darkest forces in his nation. That makes winning this battle for the soul of our nation that much tougher, harder. Trump does understand what Franklin D Roosevelt did. Roosevelt said the presidency is, quote, pre-eminently a place of moral leadership.
He doesn't see what JFK did when he said only the president represents the national interest. He's blind. What Lyndon Baines Johnson said of the office when he said, quote, nothing makes a man come to grips more directly with his conscience than the presidency. Trump offers no moral leadership. Seems to have no interest in unifying this nation. No evidence that the presidency has awakened his conscience in the least. Indeed, we have a president with a toxic tongue was publicly and unapologetically embraced the political strategy of hate.
Racism and division. So it's up to us. As it was in the 20s. It's up to us. We're living through a rare moment in this nation's history. Where our president isn't up to the moment. Where our president lacks the moral authority to lead. Where our president has more in common with George Wallace than he does with George Washington. You know. We are almost 330 million Americans. We'll have to do what our president can't. Stand together, stand against hate.
Stand up for what is best, our nation's best when we're the best. In this nation, we believe, when we're at our best. We believe in honesty, decency, treating everyone with respect, giving every hour everyone a fair shot, leaving nobody behind, giving hate, no safe harbor, demonizing no one, not the poor, the powerless, immigrant or the other. Leading by the power of our example, not by the example of our power.
That's allowed us to stand as a beacon to the world. Being part of something bigger than ourselves. It's a code. It's a uniquely American code. We are. But Donald Trump doesn't get it. What this president doesn't understand. Is that like every other nation on Earth? We're unable to define what constitutes American by religion. By necessity or by tribe, you can't do it. America is an idea. Ideas stronger than any army. Bigger than any ocean.
More powerfully dictator or tyrant. It gives hope. The most desperate people on earth. It is not only our values that are under assault. Our democracy is as well. A free press, an independent judiciary. A legislature is a co-equal branch of government. These are the guardrail. These are the guardrails of our democracy. They're written into our Constitution. And if you've noticed for the last two plus years, they've been under attack. Phrases like fake news.
Enemy of the people. No joke. They're insidious. CAROSA. Just look around the world. The worst despots are now using Trump's language to justify their own abuses of power. Trump is trying to weaken our institutions, the press, the courts, the Congress, precisely because they are the only checks on his power. That's what this is all about. The abuse of power. There's one thing I can't stand and I know you can't. Is the abuse of power, whether it's a boss taking advantage of his or her workers?
Or a man his hand to a woman or a child or a president who's running roughshod over everything this country believes and stands.
Matt, how old or young you are, you've never seen a thing like this in your lifetime. We're being reminded every day that there's nothing guaranteed about democracy. Not even here in America. We have to constantly earn it. We have to protect it. We have to fight for it. I believe America's in, as Lincoln named us, the last best hope on Earth. We have to remember why. It's not because we're the biggest economy, the strongest military in the history, the role is not because we have the most innovative entrepreneurs and the greatest research universities.
That's all true. But it's not why we're Americ. Reason is what we believe. The most powerful idea in the history of the world, I think, beats in the heart of the people this country beats in all of us. No matter your race or ethnicity. No matter your gender identity, your sexual orientation, no matter your faith. It beats in the hearts of the rich and poor alike. Unites America, where their ancestors were native to these shores.
They are brought here forcibly and enslaved or their immigrants two generations back.
Like my family from Ireland or those coming today looking to build a better life for their families. The American creed. We're all created equal. Was written long ago, but the genius of every generation, Americans has opened it wider and wider and wider. To include those who have been excluded in the previous generation. That's why it's never gathered any dust in our history books. Is still alive today, more than two hundred years after its inception. But I honest to God, don't believe Donald Trump sees it that way.
January 20th, 2017. In his inaugural address, Donald Trump painted a dark, bleak picture of our country in crisis. When he declared and I quote. This American carnage stops right here. It stops right now. But as a sitting president, Trump's anger, hate and divisiveness, pitting Americans against one another, preying on our divisions and doing nothing, nothing about the endemic and the epidemic of guns is fueling a literal carnage in America. We now have more mass shootings in the year twenty nineteen since January than we have.
Days have passed since January 1. Twenty nineteen. As of Monday, according to the data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been two hundred and fifty five mass shootings in the first two hundred and seventeen days. This year. We can't go on. We can't and I will not let this man be re-elected president of the United States of America. His incompetence, his. A morality. His. Carnage stops with us right here, right now.
Starting in the Midwest, limited to four years, I believe I really do believe this history will look back on this president as an aberrant moment in American history. But if Donald Trump is reelected, I believe he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation. We give Donald Trump four more years. This will not be the country envisioned by Washington and Adams and Jefferson. We give Donald Trump four more years. This will not be the nation bound together by Lincoln.
We give Donald Trump four more years. This will not be the nation lifted up by Roosevelt or inspired by Kennedy. Will not be the nation that Barack Obama proved toward bends toward justice. The danger. Danger Donald Trump. All right. Posed to this nation. Isn't hypothetical or exaggeration. It's real. The core values this nation are standing in the world. Our very democracy. Everything that makes America America's at stake. Folks, everyone knows who Donald Trump is, even the people support him.
We have to show who we are. We choose hope over fear. We choose science over fiction. We choose unity over division. And yes, we choose truth over lies. We stand together, if we stand together, we will win the battle for the soul of this nation where the United States of America, there is not a single thing beyond our capacity if we stand together and get up and remember who we are. This is the United States of America.
Period. Thank you. May God protect our troops.