In the wake of horrific mass shootings on August 3 in El Paso, Texas and August 4 in Dayton, Ohio, President Trump gave a speech where he blamed the shootings on "gruesome" and "grisly" violent video games and a "culture that celebrates violence." Trump's speech has been met with widespread criticism, as some feel that the NRA, ease of access to guns, and radicalized racism (as detailed in the El Paso shooter's manifesto) are actually to blame for the shootings instead of video games. One of Trump's critics is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is trying to earn the Democratic nomination to run against Trump in 2020.
Shortly after Trump's controversial speech, Sanders appeared on CNN to comment on the president's accusation that the video game industry and the Internet are to blame for the shootings. Sanders tweeted out a clip from his appearance on CNN, accompanied by the Video Games Are Not to Blame hashtag.
"The American people, gun owners, non-gun owners, are united in saying we need common sense gun-safety legislation. And that means expanding background checks, that we should eliminate the gun show loophole," Senator Sanders said. "People agree we should end the straw man provision that allows people to buy guns legally and then sell them illegally. And I would hope very much that the Congress finally has the guts to do what the American people want and does not continue to be intimidated by the NRA."
President Trump faces a choice: bring the country together to pass commonsense gun safety measures—or blame the internet. He has decided to side with the NRA, whose lobbyists and campaign contributions control the Republican party. #VideogamesAreNotToBlame pic.twitter.com/r4IeRDsYKz— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) August 5, 2019
Bernie Sanders actually has somewhat of a connection to the video game industry. A Bernie Sanders RPG was funded on Kickstarter, and Sanders himself has spoken out against the working conditions for video game developers. Bernie is also the first politician to utilize the streaming service Twitch to spread his message, which inspired a number of Bernie Sanders Twitch memes that took the Internet by storm for a time.
Of course, Sanders is far from the only person to speak out against Trump's comments. Other politicians have done so as well, including 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in addition to game industry executives like former Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils-Aime.
On the flip side of that, others have agreed with Trump. This includes Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, as well as a number of Fox News personalities. It remains to be seen if any legislation will be written to attempt to regulate video game violence.