In less than 13 hours between August 4 and August 5, 30 people were killed in two mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Among the dead were children, young parents, and senior citizens. Many of the victims were black and brown; both of the shooters were white, and both carried automatic weapons.
The cruelty captured the world's attention, and many public figures have called for gun reform, condemnation of white supremacist ideology, and accountability from a president who has been spewing racist talking points for the entirety of his term. Rihanna has been one of the most vocal celebrities to speak out so far. In posts shared on Sunday, she summed up the collective grief and exhaustion much of the nation was feeling, and called out President Trump for not labeling the attacks as acts of terrorism.
"Um... Donald, you spelt 'terrorism' wrong," Rihanna wrote on Instagram. "Your country had 2 terrorist attacks back to back, hours apart leaving almost 30 innocent people dead. This, just days after yet another terrorist attack in California, where a terrorist was able to LEGALLY purchase an assault rifle (AK-47) in Vegas, then drive hours to a food festival in Cali leaving 6 more people dead including a young infant baby boy!"
Rihanna was referencing the mass shooting carried out just last weekend, when three people, including a six-year-old child, were shot to death at a garlic festival in a predominantly Latino community in Gilroy, California. The attacker in that shooting bought the AK-47 he used across state lines, bypassing California's stricter gun laws.
"Imagine a world where it’s easier to get an AK-47 than a VISA! Imagine a world where they build a wall to keep terrorists IN AMERICA!!! My prayers and deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of all the victims and the communities affected and traumatized, from Texas, California, and Ohio," Rihanna wrote. "I’m so sorry for your loss! Nobody deserves to die like this! NOBODY!"
The musician's widely shared comments were in response to Trump's tweets about El Paso, in which — hours after news of the shooting broke on Saturday — he condemned the attacks, yet did not acknowledge that at least one of the shooters was said by authorities to have been motivated by racism.
"Today’s shooting in El Paso, Texas, was not only tragic, it was an act of cowardice," Trump wrote on Twitter. "I know that I stand with everyone in this Country to condemn today’s hateful act. There are no reasons or excuses that will ever justify killing innocent people."
Based off the manifesto the El Paso shooter posted onto 8chan shortly before he walked into a Walmart shopping center and started shooting, he was a radicalized white supremacist who idolized Trump and wanted to kill "hispanics." These findings have led many people in addition to Rihanna to call for the shooting to be labeled as a terrorist attack.
On Monday, Trump (likely responding to immense political pressure), said that the country must condemn "racism, bigotry and white supremacy" during a press conference about the shootings. That same morning, however, he also blamed "the fake news media" for inciting hatred in America and suggested that the response to the attacks should be passing stricter immigration reform.