Washington: President Donald Trump opened his first address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night with remarks denouncing the killing of an Indian engineer in Kansas and said America condemns "hate and evil" in all forms.
- Trump says US condemns hate and evil in all forms
- Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was shot dead in Kansas bar
- Navy veteran shouted 'get out of my country' before firing
"Recent threats targeting Jewish community centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week's shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms," President Trump said.
Fending off criticism that he is insensitive to racism and bigotry, he began by saying: "Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our nation's path toward civil rights and the work that still remains."
He continued, "Each American generation passes the torch of truth, liberty and justice - in an unbroken chain all the way down to the present. That torch is now in our hands. And we will use it to light up the world. I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength, and it is a message deeply delivered from my heart."
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, a 32-year-old engineer from Hyderabad, was with his friend at a bar in Olathe town of Kansas last Wednesday when he was shot by a navy veteran. Adam Purinton, 51, allegedly yelled "get out of my country" before he opened fire.
Mr Kuchibhotla, who worked with an American multinational after graduating from the University of Texas, was killed instantly. His friend Alok Madasani and a witness who tried to stop the shooter, Ian Grillot, were injured. The shooter was caught in Missouri over five hours later, where he bragged at a bar about killing two "Middle-Eastern men".
On Monday, Hillary Clinton had called on President Trump to speak out against the shooting and tweeted, "With threats and hate crimes on the rise, we shouldn't have to tell (the President) to do his part. He must step up and speak out."