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Even as it unites to mourn its dead, America is more divided than ever

Americans are used a sombre choreography when a president visits the scenes of mass shootings.

As ever, nothing is predictable in the presidency of Donald Trump.

From the slick video, produced by the White House with musical accompaniment, showing Donald Trump meeting with heroic first responders in Ohio.

To the hundreds standing on a baseball field in near 40 degree heat in Texas, expressing visceral dislike for their commander in chief.

The contrast could not have been more extreme.

Image: President Trump was on twitter attacking his opponents as he flew to El paso

The drama of the reaction to this week’s twin tragedies is becoming more intense by the day. America, already polarised, is in a frenzied state at a time when people are emotionally raw.

That age-old sense that a presidential visit brings unity after a national tragedy has gone out of the window this week.

As Trump met survivors, former vice-president Joe Biden was giving a campaign speech and accusing him of fanning the flames of white supremacy.

Mayors and members of congress refused to join the president, as is tradition at times like this, for the visits to their communities.

And Trump sat on Air Force One and abused them on all on Twitter.

Yes, Biden is running for President and Trump is running for re-election, but it is an unedifying spectacle – a slanging match between political figures when the country is crying out for leadership.

Image: Anti-Trump protesters in Ohio ahead of the president’s visit to Dayton

Whatever the politics, you have only needed to look at the hurt on the faces of the people of El Paso this week to understand something is very wrong in this country right now.

It has become no surprise, sadly, that a shopping trip or a night in a bar can end in mass murder in America today but the lack of common ground on solutions is becoming alarming.

On gun control we already knew that little was likely to change, it never does, but Trump has said he sees no reason to alter his tone.

As that serves to rile his political opponents even, their attacks grow louder and and the gulf widens.

Image: Residents of El Paso mourn the victims of the Walmart shooting

Where does America go from here?

Members of Congress show no sign of interrupting their summer holidays and returning to Washington to deal with the issue.

The survivors of the Parkland shooting in Florida turned gun control into an issue at the midterm elections in 2018.

It is certain now – thanks to the efforts of the army of Democrats currently in the running – that guns and hate will feature on the agenda in 2020.

El Paso has felt literally at boiling point this week. America is figuratively not far away from it.


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