In the wake of the Dayton, Ohio and El Paso, Texas mass shootings, President Trump visited the hospitals in both cities where injured survivors were receiving treatment. Despite Trump and his spokespeople declaring the success of the visits, none of the eight victims in the University Medical Center in El Paso agreed to meet with him.
The patients also refused to meet with Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Two of the survivors who had already been discharged agreed to meet with Trump. Several of the survivors, however, opted to meet with Democratic Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar and Democratic Illinois Rep. Chuy Garcia when they visited, The Washington Post reports.
Both of Trump’s visits excluded press, with White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham saying “this was about the victims and their families, and thanking medical staff,” not “about a photo-op for the President and the First Lady.”
However, after the Dayton visit, the White House released photos from the hospital. One of the photos shows him posing with medical workers, smiling and throwing a thumbs-up.
The people I met today in Dayton are the finest anywhere! pic.twitter.com/sBxKZWExcR
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 7, 2019
Talking to reporters after his visit in El Paso, Trump skirted a question about his critics, saying Democrats should leave politicking out of the day’s events. But A CBS4 viewer submitted a video from earlier that day, showing Trump bragging about the size of his rallies and trashing Democratic presidential candidate and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke. El Paso is O’Rourke’s home town.
This is viewer video of President @realDonaldTrump and @FLOTUS at @umcelpaso meeting with victims and medical staff. Send us any photos/videos of president Trump's visit to #ElPaso and we may show it on TV. Upload here: https://t.co/UHa4MdGOH4 pic.twitter.com/DD5otJtYEg
— CBS4Local (@CBS4Local) August 8, 2019
Democrats and activists have openly blamed Trump for the El Paso shooting, citing his strong anti-immigrant rhetoric echoed in a manifesto the suspected shooter likely posted online prior to the massacre.
After his Dayton visit, Trump took to Twitter to blast Democrats Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, for “misrepresenting” his hospital visit, when in reality, both said mainly complimentary things about the visit.
At a press conference, Brown said Trump’s visit was comforting to the shooting victims and that he “did the right things,” while in an interview with CNN, Whaley said the victims were “grateful” for the visit. Brown did mention Trump’s rhetoric echoed by the suspect of the El Paso shooting was “racist” and Whaley said it was “divisive,” but both supported his visit.
In a Twitter thread where Trump called Brown a “failed Presidential Candidate,” despite him having never run for President, Trump said:
Just left Dayton, Ohio, where I met with the Victims & families, Law Enforcement, Medical Staff & First Responders. It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love. Then I saw failed Presidential Candidate (0%) Sherrod Brown & Mayor Whaley totally misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital. Their news conference after I left for El Pso was a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with. They were all amazing!”
Related Story: El Paso Opens Grief Center After Mass Shooting
Of the El Paso survivors, UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke told the Washington Post that the pain from this weekend was raw for many who did not want to meet Trump or receive any visitors.
“This is a very sensitive time in their lives. Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the President, some of them didn’t want any visitors,” he said.