Appearing as a guest on Sunday's New Day show, CNN political commentator and Spectrum News anchor Errol Louis claimed that President Donald Trump was "blaming the victim" by recommending armed guards at houses of worship in the aftermath of the synagogue attack in Pittsburgh. The liberal analyst also dismissed the idea of using more gun ownership to ward off such shootings as trying to have a "better shootout."
At about 7:10 a.m. Eastern, CNN played a clip of President Trump arguing in favor of more armed guards, followed by a clip of New York City Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio arguing against more guns and accusing the President of "blaming the victim."
CNN co-host Christi Paul then followed up: "Now, for clarity, the President didn't, as far as we can tell, 'blame the victims.' Are armed guards an option?"
Louis began his response: "I would disagree with you there, I have to say. That sounded a lot like blaming the victim where the President says, 'Oh, tisk, tisk, if only you'd had an armed guard.' That's a nonstarter in most communities, including New York City."
After noting that his son sometimes goes to synagogues because he has Jewish friends, Louis continued:
This is not the way it works -- you don't have to have an armed guard all over the place. And then, as a practical matter, I think we now know just from the accounts that we've received so far that even when fully armed, highly trained police officers responded, four of them were shot. So the suggestion that we have more shootouts as a way to prevent these massacres -- it really doesn't make a lot of sense.
It was not mentioned that an overwhelming majority of mass public shootings take place in gun-free zones.
He added: "And it's not the President really leading on this issue. Anybody can speculate, 'Gee, what if we'd had a better shootout -- maybe it would have happened differently.' That's not leadership -- that's not an answer."
After Paul followed up by asking Louis what he was hoping to hear from the President, he further dismissed President Trump's talk of utilizing guns to thwart similar attacks in the future:
What we need to hear is somebody who has some compassion and some empathy, not simply calling for hardened houses of worship and more guns... A lot of the President's tweets and even his comments made him sound like a bystander like the rest of us, "Gee, what a terrible thing, what a terrible tragedy."
What we do need to hear, I think, is some direction forward, a path forward. What we need to hear is that the toxic brew of mental illness and universal availability of guns and social media that stokes all of it, and a lot of public hate speech that the President has been slow to recognize or condemn.