U.S. President Donald Trump has wrapped up his visits to cities reeling from mass shootings that left 31 dead and dozens more wounded. He was greeted by protesters in both cities.
The president and first lady Melania Trump flew to El Paso, Texas, Wednesday afternoon after visiting the Dayton, Ohio, hospital where many of the victims of Sunday’s attack in that city were treated. For most of the day, the president was kept out of view of the reporters traveling with him.
Outside Dayton’s Miami Valley Hospital, at least 200 protesters gathered, blaming Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for inflaming political and racial tensions in the country and demanding action on gun control.
Trump slammed Ohio Democratic leaders that he met with after his visit to Ohio, writing on Twitter, "failed Presidential Candidate (0%) [Senator] Sherrod Brown & Mayor [Nan] Whaley totally misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital. Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud." Trump's tweet drew confusion as most observers saw Trump and the Democrats making similar and positive comments about their meeting.
In a CNN interview Wednesday, Whaley was asked for her response to the president and she said, “I’ve watched President Trump’s Twitter feed for a while. He’s a bully and a coward.” The mayor continued, “And it’s fine that he wants to bully me and Sen. Brown. We’re OK. We can take it. But the citizens of Dayton deserve action.”
In El Paso, Trump’s motorcade passed protesters holding “Racist Go Home” signs.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump were at the University Medical Center of El Paso, Texas, visiting with survivors of the weekend shooting that killed 22 people.
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The presidential motorcade arrived at the hospital under tight security. Law enforcement officers toted long guns and some had riot gear.
A rally protest to fight white supremacy and demand gun control was planned. Trump attacked the media on Twitter writing, "The Fake News worked overtime trying to disparage me and the two trips, but it just didn’t work."
Some Democrats and residents of El Paso say Trump’s fiery rhetoric has fostered the kind of anti-immigrant hatred that could have contributed to Saturday’s attack. The suspected gunman apparently wrote an anti-Hispanic rant before the attack.
Speaking to several hundred people, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said immigrants had made El Paso one of the safest cities in America, before Saturday’s shooting.
On the eve of his trip, Trump lashed out at O’Rourke, saying he “should respect the victims & law enforcement - & be quiet!”
On his flight between one scene of tragedy and the second, Trump said he tuned in as another 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, excoriated him in a speech that slammed him as incapable of offering the moral leadership that has defined the presidency for generations and “fueling a literal carnage” in America.
Trump declared the speech “Sooo Boring!” and warned that “The LameStream Media will die in the ratings and clicks” if Biden wins.
Trump seemed focused on politics through the day. He mentioned the crowd at his earlier rally in El Paso. When a reporter asked what he saw during the day, he answered with claims about how he was received respectfully in both cities. Then on the flight home he unleashed another political tweet:
“The Dems new weapon is actually their old weapon, one which they never cease to use when they are down, or run out of facts, RACISM! They are truly disgusting!”