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The Latest: Tech companies invited to White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's visit to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is calling for rural voters to engage in the gun control debate as she campaigns in Iowa.

She says, "I think we need rural voices in this gun debate as we head into the next few months."

Klobuchar is running to be the Democratic presidential nominee and spoke during a campaign stop at a farm in Ankeny, Iowa.

She urged her colleagues in the Senate and President Donald Trump to step up and tackle the issue of gun violence, noting that a number of gun-control bills have bipartisan support and saying "we have extraordinary power in Washington, D.C., but there has not been extraordinary courage."

Klobuchar declined to criticize the president for visiting Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, despite community pushback. But she did say that Trump should use his sway over the Republican Party to get something done on gun control, noting his expressed support for improving background checks.

She told reporters, "There's absolutely no way he couldn't get this done if he wanted to."

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12:20 p.m.

The White House is inviting internet and technology companies for a roundtable discussion on violent extremism online.

The meeting to be held on Friday follows a pair of mass shootings that some believe were fueled by online violence and hate.

The White House did not immediately release the names of the companies invited to the meeting, which will be led by White House staff. President Donald Trump is not expected to attend.

Trump this week directed the Justice Department to work with online platforms and state and local governments to "develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike."

Some Republicans have blamed the shootings on video games and internet culture. Democrats point to Trump's rhetoric as fostering an environment of hate that led to violence.

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11:35 a.m.

President Donald Trump and the first lady are heading to the hospital in Dayton, Ohio, where many of the victims of Sunday's attack were treated.

The White House says Trump will be visiting Miami Valley Hospital to thank first responders and hospital staff, as well as meet with victims and their families.

At least 200 protesters have gathered outside the hospital hoping to send a message to the president that he's not welcome in the city.

Connor Betts opened fire in Dayton's Oregon district early Sunday morning, killing nine people, including his 22-year-old sister, before officers fatally shot him within 30 seconds of the start of his rampage.

Later Wednesday, Trump will travel to El Paso, Texas — the site of the second mass shooting last weekend.

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11:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump's arrival Wednesday in an Ohio city grieving after a mass shooting was met with protests.

Several hundred demonstrators lined the streets in Dayton and chanted "Do Something!" which has become the city's anti-gun rallying cry since nine people were killed in a shooting early Sunday morning.

Trump's visit has sparked anger over his divisive rhetoric and lack of support for gun control. He is expected to visit with victims and first responders.

Dorothee Bouquet stood with her two children, ages five and two. She said she told the kids they were going to a protest "to tell grown-ups to make better rules."

Later Wednesday, Trump will travel to El Paso, Texas, the site of the other weekend mass shooting.

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10:20 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says racism and white supremacy are "issues of national security."

The New Jersey senator didn't mention President Donald Trump by name in South Carolina on Wednesday but used some of the president's own words to call out the racism Booker says underlies much of the violence in the country, including recent attacks that killed 31 in El Paso and Dayton.

Booker said white supremacy "allows political leaders to promise to 'build the wall' — while not building hospitals, schools, or infrastructure." Trump has pushed to build a wall along the Mexico border.

Booker made his address in the sanctuary of Mother Emanuel AME, a historic South Carolina church where nine Bible study participants were slain in a 2015 racist attack.

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10 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending his incendiary rhetoric in the wake of two mass shootings.

Trump said while leaving the White House on Wednesday to visit Ohio and Texas that he doesn't think his rhetoric has contributed to violence, even though some of his words mirror language linked to one of the weekend's shooters.

The Republican president says, "No, I don't think my rhetoric has at all." He claims his rhetoric "brings people together."

Democrats vying to challenge Trump in the 2020 election have been nearly unanimous in excoriating Trump for rhetoric they say nurtured the racist attitudes of the El Paso shooter.

Trump also says he is "concerned about the rise of any group of hate," whether it's white supremacy, "any other kind of supremacy" or anti-fascist groups.

Trump says he's going to "do something about it," but he doesn't say what.

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9:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is claiming that there is a "very strong" political appetite in Congress for bipartisan legislation that would address background checks or some restrictions for gun users.

The House passed legislation in February that would require federal background checks for all firearms sales and transfers, including those sold online or at gun shows. Another bill allows an expanded 10-day review for gun purchases. The bills have languished in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Another bipartisan proposal is gaining momentum to create a federal grant program to encourage states to adopt "red flag" laws to take guns away from people believed to be a danger to themselves or others.

Trump told reporters as he left the White House Wednesday to visit Ohio and Texas, the scene of weekend mass shootings, that he has had "plenty of talks" with lawmakers. He claimed, "There's a great appetite, and I mean a very strong appetite, for background checks. And I think we can bring up background checks like we've never had before."

Earlier this week, Trump claimed he favored "strong background checks" but never provided details.

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8:10 a.m.

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is attending an El Paso, Texas community rally timed to serve as counterprogramming to President Donald Trump's visit.

An El Paso native, O'Rourke will address the #ElPasoStrong event at a park Wednesday afternoon, during Trump's visit. O'Rourke is also attending a morning remembrance at a high school and making an evening visit to a makeshift memorial outside the Walmart where a gunman killed 22 people.

In February, during a packed Trump rally in El Paso supporting a U.S.-Mexico border wall, O'Rourke drew thousands with his own counter speech across the street.

Trump tweeted that he had "trounced" O'Rourke at those dueling February events, adding that O'Rourke should respect victims and law enforcement and "be quiet."

O'Rourke tweeted: "El Paso will not be quiet and neither will I."

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12:05 a.m.

President Donald Trump's plan to carry a message of national unity and healing to the sites of the most recent mass shootings in America is drawing skepticism from some local residents as well as Democratic candidates.

Trump is expected to visit Dayton, Ohio, on Wednesday morning and El Paso, Texas, in the afternoon to praise first responders and console family members and survivors. A White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, says Trump also wants to have a conversation about ways to head off such violence in the future.

Critics of the president point to his own divisive language and his anti-immigrant rhetoric that sounds much like that of the El Paso gunman. Some go so far as to say he has helped to create the hatred that made the shootings possible.

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