- President Donald Trump on Wednesday shared a video filled with smiles, thumbs-up, and intense music depicting his visits with mass-shooting victims in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
- The video resembled a campaign ad, and it was released after the Trump administration was said to have barred reporters from Trump’s hospital visits and said they were not meant to be a “photo op.”
- The video excludes the negative reception Trump faced in both cities from residents and local leaders. There were protests in both cities Wednesday as Democrats urged him to stay away.
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President Donald Trump shared a campaign-style video Wednesday full of smiles, thumbs-ups, and dramatic music depicting his visits with mass-shooting victims in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.
Trump went to Dayton and El Paso after the mass shootings that have left both communities reeling and the nation palpably traumatized. He faced protests and sharp criticism from local leaders along the way, and he lashed out at critics by tweeting attacks at his political opponents throughout the day.
But you wouldn’t know that from the cheerful video Trump released in a tweet in which the president thanked citizens of the two cities for “a job well done!”
Some local leaders went on to accuse Trump of using them and their cities as props for a photo op.
Initially, that did not seem to be the case, as reporters described not being allowed to gain access to Trump’s hospital visits and being told by the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, that the visits were about the victims and not a “photo op.” Hours later, however, Trump released this video:
My time spent in Dayton and El Paso with some of the greatest people on earth. Thank you for a job well done! pic.twitter.com/TNVDGhxOpo
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2019
Trump did not visit the district in Dayton where at least nine people were killed and more than two dozen were wounded by a gunman early Sunday, and Mayor Nan Whaley said it was a “good decision” because of what she said was Trump’s tendency to be “divisive.”
When Trump went to El Paso later in the day, none of the hospitalized survivors of the Saturday mass shooting wanted to meet with him, according to The Washington Post.
Trump has often struggled to find the appropriate response to national tragedies, and he is facing strong criticism over these recent shootings given the broader conversation they have sparked on gun violence as well as white nationalism.
The shooting suspect in El Paso is accused of writing a manifesto that echoed some of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration and that cited animus toward immigrants as the motivation for the massacre, which left at least 22 people dead at a Walmart.
Trump has decried white supremacy and racism since the shootings, but many of his critics feel his words have been hollow in light of his general tone. The president, for example, has faced a lingering backlash over racist tweets he sent last month attacking four Democratic lawmakers of colour.
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