Back-to-back massacres in El Paso and Dayton kill 31. Cue the thoughts and prayers!

“Melania and I send our heartfelt thoughts and prayers,” tweeted President Trump, who vows to veto gun control.

“Elaine’s and my prayers go out to the victims,” tweeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocks votes on gun control.

Dana Milbank mug


Do they not realize that “thoughts and prayers” has become a meme, a cynical punchline conveying inaction on guns? It’s what people say when they plan to do nothing.

Thoughts and prayers are always welcome, but Republicans’ reflexive response to the endless massacres has become a cruel joke, as effective as a Hallmark sympathy card.

They seem to realize how weak it sounds: CNN reported that it invited 50 Republican lawmakers to talk about the shootings; only one accepted.

In fairness, Republicans offer more than “thoughts and prayers.” They also praise first responders, make various references to heartbreak and promise to “stand” with victims.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Dayton and El Paso. We are praying for them,” tweeted Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “Let’s stand united in condemning this evil.”

Thoughts and prayers stand united! And bonus points if you speak for your wife.

“Mylene and I send our prayers,” tweeted Oregon Rep. Greg Walden.

“Wrenzie and I are praying.” — South Carolina Rep. Tom Rice.

“Jean and I are praying.” — South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds.

“Tara and I are praying.” — Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw.

Enough prayers. How about some thoughts?

“Mikey and I mourn.” — North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven.

“Kay and I are continuing to grieve.” — Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe.

“Renee and I are saddened.” — North Carolina Rep. Richard Hudson.

“Lucy and I are shocked.” — North Carolina Rep. George Holding.

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“Maureen and I are deeply troubled.” — Indiana Sen. Mike Braun.

And I pray that Mylene, Wrenzie, Jean, Tara, Mikey, Kay, Renee, Lucy and Maureen tell their husbands to stop blocking common-sense gun laws.

Some Republicans offer thoughts and prayers as if using GPS.

Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson reported that his “prayers are with the families and victims.” North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr furnished three locations: “My prayers are with the victims, their families, and the first responders.” Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby provided a location update: “My prayers remain with those affected.”

A few thought and prayed in fragments: “Praying for comfort for all the families affected” (Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, W.Va.) or “Heartbroken for the people of El Paso, TX & Dayton, OH” (Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, Tenn.).

Still others were observers, calling the play-by-play: “Our nation mourns . . . and is praying” (Rep. Tim Walberg, Mich.), “Our hearts are with the victims” (Rep. Drew Ferguson, Ga.), “Our prayers go out” (Rep. David McKinley, W.Va.).

It’s a bit like Madlibs: My heart breaks for____. I pray for____. Missouri Rep. Jason Smith: “My heart breaks for the communities” and “I pray for healing.” Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski: “Our hearts break for the senseless violence” and “my prayers are with the victims.”

Democrats mentioned thoughts and prayers too — as insufficient. Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey complained: “My Republican colleagues cut and paste the words ‘thoughts and prayers’ into a tweet and then do nothing on gun violence.”

But Republicans don’t just cut and paste. They take positions! “I stand with the grieving communities,” said Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz. A more flexible Tennessee Rep. Mark Green reported that “our entire nation stands — and kneels.”

They also join. “I join our entire country in mourning,” tweeted Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe. “I join Americans across the country,” reported Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup.

And Georgia Rep. Barry Loudermilk preemptively chided those who “criticize our calls for earnest prayer.”

Actually, we criticize prayer in lieu of action.

Trump proposed action, tweeting Monday in support of “strong background checks.” But, as after Parkland, Fla., he quickly dropped the idea, omitting it from his on-camera remarks.

Instead: More thoughts and prayers!

“The first lady and I join all Americans in praying,” disclosed Trump, so deep in thought and prayer that he said “Toledo” instead of “Dayton.”

Trump, who previously said white nationalism is not a growing threat, announced that “our nation must condemn racism, bigotry and white supremacy.”

Trump, who said nonwhite lawmakers should “go back” to other countries, asserted that “hatred warps the mind.”

Trump, who last week shared the sentiment that “DEMOCRATS ARE THE TRUE ENEMIES OF AMERICA,” said “now is the time to set destructive partisanship aside.”

Eventually, disgusted Americans will force Republicans to act. Until then, here’s a thought: We don’t have a prayer.

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Dana Milbank is a columnist for The Washington Post.


(17) comments

Rick Czeczok

Flaming the fire only makes things already bad, much worse. Please stop with all the bias hate on this board. If you have no solutions accept to hate and and write bias comments, then you are not part of any kind of solution, but much worse, you may be part of the overall problem. Think before you hate on anyone. Politicions do enough of that for the entire country. We need to vote those people out.


If I read through your semi-literate, self-serving diatribe, Ricky, I gather you want the rest of us to quit being so upset by the out-sized power of the NRA and the gun lobby allowing this gun madness in this country to continue. We should just keep our mouths shut and let Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell deal with this tragedy by doing what they always do. Nothing. I will pray for you, Ricky, that you develop some rudimentary cognitive powers that will allow you to see the world as it is, not how you want it to be.

Rick Czeczok

Like I said; part of the problem. This is a guy who dodged the Vietnam war, then graduated from collage went to Nam and made money on the war, when others his age were dying to keep his rights and freedoms, he was filling his greedy pockets. Yes Mr. OldHorny we really want to listen to your opinion. You are and have always been a problem with our society and now you are a full blown socialist. What a guy, 73 and still haven't grown enough to know when to shut that yap.


andhere goes

Ricky boy with the personal attacks while telling others not to hate or divide. You are the quintessential example of how not to be. You talk with forked tongue, doing exactly what you accuse others of doing. You should be ashamed you filthy drunkard!


I have yet to see you get one detail of my life correct, Ricky. It is what makes reading you so interesting, to see how wrong one person can be on everything he says. But I am glad that you are adhering so closely in your 5:11pm post to your newfound determination to be a reasonable, non-inflammatory voice on these boards. I don't know your thoughts on religion, but have you ever considered entering the priesthood? Perhaps one of those monastic religious orders would work better for you, the one where the monks take a vow of silence.


"Czeczok", you better lay off the martini's. They are getting the best of you. YOU are the biggest hater on this site and you think you're fooling people? How many names are you using and how do you keep them all straight? If you don't give it up your mind is going to get even more scrambled than it already is. Learn how to spell, learn how to be nice, learn how to be honest, and get some help. When are you going to tell everyone who Cassandra2 is? What did you teach and where? How many names are you using on here and which ones? Be honest.


Like the Orange Carcass reiterating : no collusion,no collusion,no collusion and after while ,he even began to believe it, as did his Trump-Humpers....especially the hard core.

Prayers and thoughts have consequences........ Who knew?


Saying we need to take action isn't taking action. Action is action, ie doing something. There should be laws created now that are on Trump's desk to sign. But no, Congress is on summer break. Siiiigh.


Here, D, I will help you out with Trump's actual quote regarding this: “So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world,” Trump wrote on Twitter, “now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.”

Trump added: “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”

The four women are all American citizens. Three of the four are American-born. But their ethnic backgrounds, of which Trump is very aware, would be characterized in his mind as "sh*thole countries", not Norway, the country he wishes would send more immigrants.

You, however, should be delighted about the ethnic origins of these four women. After all, Norway to you seems to represent an oppressive, terrible form of socialism that renders its population into abject peonage. I guess that is why not many Norwegians these days choose to emigrate to America.


"Trump, who said nonwhite lawmakers should “go back” to other countries, asserted that “hatred warps the mind.”

Trump said "these non-white lawmakers should go back where they came from"?????? Really? It's amazing how fiction becomes fact for liberals when they say it enough and want it to happen enough.


When you put it in quotes like that, he did not say those exact words, but he did tell nonwhite lawmakers that if they did not act the way that Trump prefers then they should go back to where they came from. You certainly get a kick out of twisting words around. I guess when your argument is so empty that is all you have left.


Are non-whites now automatically immune from criticism and questioning? If so, who has the privilege?


Dmoney Sure that is exactly what I was saying. Twisting other people's words into something they never said or meant seems to be your preferred rhetorical device. I guess when your side has no substance that is the sort of thing that you need to resort to. Good job!


The reason is, the author MADE it a racist statement by saying Trump said non-white lawmakers should go back. He didn't say that. He didn't allude to their skin color at all. The AUTHOR did. Who's racist?


wow you are totally lost D. Always have been. Trump picked on four lawmakers of color, telling them to go back to where they came from. No he didn't call them the 'N' word but that doesn't give him a pass on being racist. Saying what he did he is basically telling all Americans of color if you don't like him (Trump) you can leave this country. That is not a far fetched conclusion. That is how he operates, to incite hate and prejudice among this country without being obvious. He didn't pick on four white people and say the same thing. He purposely chose those of color. You have to dig a little deeper, but Trump has got you duped in to being his little minion no matter what.


He picked sh*thole countries, not skin colors. A country isn't a skin color.


hopeless, absolutely hopeless D. You can now be crowned Imperial Wizard of the KKK or any white nationalists group you belong to or admire. Should the FBI go after white supremacists??? still stonewalling, your true self is laid bare, for all to see.

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