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Republicans' thoughts and prayers have become a cruel joke

Dana Milbank on

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.

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.

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"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.

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