Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who was leading his state in 2012 when a gunman killed 12 people and injured 70 at a movie theater in his state, criticized Donald Trump’s response to the shooting in Orlando, Florida, saying the presumptive GOP presidential nominee did not act the way a leader should following a tragedy.
In the week following the Orlando shooting, in which a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub, Trump bragged about himself, expanded his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. and called for increased surveillance on mosques.
Hickenlooper said that following a tragedy, what was most important was bringing the affected community together. He criticized Trump for promoting himself instead of helping the families heal.
“What is most important at that time is the ability to really be there for people, to listen to them, to demonstrate empathy,” he said in an interview with HuffPost. “You don’t do that by making cheap political points, patting yourself on the back, saying how clever you were to be correct about one thing or another. And then reiterating a divisive statement that you’re going to ban certain groups of people.”
Trump also suggested President Barack Obama was sympathetic to terrorists — a claim Hickenlooper called “outrageous.”
“That’s the kind of reckless language that creates division, it doesn’t bring people together. It doesn’t provide us a path toward consoling and providing comfort to the victims and their families,” he said. “I think that the impulsive nature of his responses creates all kinds of potentially damaging consequences.”
Hickenlooper, who’s in his second term as Colorado governor, has been mentioned as a potential vice presidential pick for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He said that while he loves the job he has now, he would consider serving on Clinton’s ticket if he were asked.
“I think it’s a longer list than what people have said. I think I’m probably closer to the bottom than I am to the top,” he said. “If you are asked to serve in that capacity, your country, you have to take it very very seriously.”
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist