President Trump on Thursday again blamed mental illness for mass shootings in the US — and suggested it was time to build new facilities to house the mentally ill.
“Mental illness is somebody that nobody wants to talk about. You know, it’s them, they pull the trigger. The gun doesn’t pull the trigger –they pull the trigger — and we’re looking at mental illness at a level that hasn’t been done before,” Trump said after arriving at the airport in Manchester, N.H. for a campaign rally later Thursday.
He said he had been talking to GOP lawmakers and that the answer was simple.
“Basically it’s very simple. They don’t want insane people, dangerous people, really bad people having guns. Republicans agree with me on that,” he said.
Asked specifically about expanded background checks, he said that he would support them — but also thought alternatives should be available, like institutions for violent people with mental illness.
“I support strong, meaningful background checks where people who should not have guns, people who are insane, mentally ill, bad, bad people … would not have guns,” he continued.
“These people are mentally ill. People have to start thinking about it. You know, if you look at the ‘60s and ‘70s, so many institutions were closed. The people were just allowed to go onto the streets.
“That was a terrible thing for our country,” he said, referring to de-institutionalization of the mentally ill.
“I can tell you in New York they closed a lot of them. The people went out, went out onto the streets, and it’s a terrible thing.”
The US, he added, should “start building institutions again. We have to open up institutions.”
The president blamed mental illness after recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, prompting mental health advocates to assert that he was stigmatizing an entire population because of the actions of a few.