The killing of 22 people in El Paso, Texas, at the weekend is conflicting in that it is both horrifying and yet not wholly surprising.

The 21-year old gunman, a white male and supporter of President Trump, carried out his killing spree at a crowded supermarket as people in the US-Mexican Border city bought supplies for their children getting ready to return to school.

Shortly before the massacre, the gunman posted a document online describing the attack as “a response to the Hispanic invasion,” and accusing Democrats of “pandering to the Hispanic voting bloc”. He also condemned “race mixing” and “interracial unions”.

“Yet another reason to send them back,” it said.

Linking the attack to a “mental illness problem, President Trump also apportioned blame on the media, writing on Twitter: “The media has a big responsibility to life and safety in our Country. Fake News has contributed greatly to the anger and rage that has built up over many years.”

Among other things, such a statement is ironic when you consider how the media has allowed Trump to go largely unchallenged since the first day of his presidency when he questioned if Barack Obama was born in the United States.

Mr Trump has considered several issues are to blame for the violent attack in El Paso, everything except an admission that his hateful language contributed. But make no mistake, it did.

When presidential hopeful and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke spoke to reporters on Monday about what Mr Trump could do in response to the shooting, it was clear how angry he was with the merry-go-round of questions seemingly ignoring the elephant in the room.

If you haven’t already seen the footage, it is well worth a watch. A visibly shaken O’Rourke pulls no punches when he tells reporters to “connect the dots about what [Trump] has been doing”.

“He’s not tolerating racism, he is promoting racism,” he said, adding: “He’s not tolerating violence, he’s inciting racism and violence in this country.”

The discussion over gun laws predates president Trump and quite frankly, it’s not one anyone needs to hear debated here.

Similarly the discussion over immigration is a complex one. But America has now moved into much more dangerous territory because along with problems relating to the availability and regulation of weapons, it has a president who uses inflammatory rhetoric on an almost daily basis about people who are not white. And it has become a recipe for disaster and murder on a mass scale. Last year, 11 people were murdered at a synagogue in Pittsburgh by a man who, hours earlier, had accused Jewish refugee support agency of allowing “invaders in that kill our country”.

The mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue is the worst anti-Semitic attack in US history and took place during the 2018 midterm election campaign when Mr Trump seized on an immigrant “caravan” coming to the US from central America to incite panic and fear among the electorate.

Then, like the El Paso massacre, the White House had to deny President Trump’s language had inspired the killings in any way.

But there is something deeply wrong when a President, or anyone in a position of power, has to come out time and time again to insist that his behaviour and rhetoric has nothing to do with people being murdered on a mass scale.

Mr Trump does not openly call for people to use violence against others in support of his agenda and policies, but the language he uses dehumanises immigrants and minorities. It conveys a message of support and solidarity to people, like the El Paso shooter, enabling them to assert their beliefs that “immigrants and racial minorities are a scourge on America.” As people on the island of Ireland know all too well, rhetoric against another tribe acts as a motivator to aggrieved people to take matters into their own hands.

Frankly it is the height of hypocrisy to refer to immigrants as “vermin”, “criminals” and “rapists” and then act surprised and saddened by the murderous act of a person evidently motivated by such language.

It is not enough for Mr Trump to condemn racism and white supremacy.

It is time to call out this behaviour and language for what it is: racist, dangerous and clearly an incitement to murder. I

f there’s any hope, he must stop using the destructive language that has become a feature of his presidency. Maybe he’ll condemn those chanting at his next rally about sending people back.

It’s unlikely, but I live in hope.