Amid criticism of the White House’s silence about the shooting last week of two India-born engineers at a Kansas bar, President Donald Trump is expected to denounce the “racially motivated” attack in his prime-time speech to Congress.
A White House spokeswoman on Tuesday condemned the shooting, which has raised questions about Trump’s commitment to pursuing crimes against ethnic and racial minorities.
“As more facts come to light, and it begins to look like this was an act of racially motivated hatred, we want to reiterate that the president condemns these and any other racially or religiously motivated attacks in the strongest terms,” said Sarah Sanders.
Adam W. Purinton, 51, has been charged with premeditated first-degree murder after allegedly shooting Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, at a bar last Wednesday night in Olathe, Kansas.
Purinton allegedly singled out the two engineers and yelled, “Get out of my country,” before he fired at the men he reportedly thought were Middle Eastern, according to police accounts.
Kuchibhotla died later that night. Madasani was released Thursday from the hospital where Grillot remained recovering.
Trump faced criticisim for not offering condolences to Kuchibhotla’s widow or reaching out to Madasani, let alone Grillot, who was shot as he jumped at the gunman to prevent others from getting hurt.
Kansas lawmakers condemned what they saw as an act of prejudice and xenophobia.
Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., whose district includes the scene of the shooting, contacted the White House and urged Trump to condemn the attack.
(Hate crimes) have no place in our country, and we will continue to make that clear.
Sarah Sanders, a White House spokeswoman
“The president must use this amazing platform to condemn this hateful act in no uncertain terms and send a powerful message that no American should be fearful in their own community,” Yoder said. “Diverse political and religious views are what make our country great.”
The FBI was called in to help Kansas officials investigate possible civil rights violations. Kansas has no hate-crime statute.
Sanders said Tuesday that Trump was likely to address the shooting during his speech. Hate crimes “have no place in our country, and we will continue to make that clear,” she said.