(WASHINGTON) -- Less than two weeks after a total of 31 people were killed in back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, President Donald Trump retweeted a tweet that said the United States was not in the "midst of an epidemic of mass shootings.”
The president retweeted Thursday morning a tweet from Fox News host Laura Ingraham, linking to a Reason article, in which Northeastern University criminologist James Alan Fox blamed the media.
"There is no evidence that we are in the midst of an epidemic of mass shootings," he said. "The number of incidents and casualties are simply too small to make such claims.
"The media coverage of shootings often ends up creating a false sense that gun violence—which is at or near historic lows—is ubiquitous and growing," he continued.
Brian Harrell, Trump’s assistant director for Infrastructure Protection at the Department of Homeland Security, told ABC News Thursday that "society is becoming more violent every day."
"The fact that highly lethal attacks on houses of worship, schools, and public gathering venues can be executed with little planning and bad-actors are often able to remain undetected until operational, together with the sheer volume of 'soft targets', presents a significant security challenge," Harrell said. "We have seen this violence on full display over the past year. The Department of Homeland Security is very aware of this increase in domestic terrorism activity.”
He added, "These violent actions, against innocent and vulnerable populations, are an affront to all Americans and they have no place in society.”
Beyond mass shootings, the retweet comes after six police officers were shot during a shootout with an alleged gunman in Philadelphia.
Trump tweeted Thursday morning, "The Philadelphia shooter should never have been allowed to be on the streets. He had a long and very dangerous criminal record. Looked like he was having a good time after his capture, and after wounding so many police. Long sentence - must get much tougher on street crime!"
On Wednesday, Rudy Giuliani, an attorney for the president, tweeted that the shootout shows how "dangerous it is to be a police officer."
"Our prayers are with them, all the wounded and the ones still engaged. Attacking police officers is an attack on our decent and lawful society,” Giuliani tweeted.
The president retweeted that tweet, too.
A total of 31 people were killed and dozens others wounded in shootings in El Paso and Dayton earlier this month. The shootings renewed calls for gun reform.
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