While Trump visited Dayton, the city's mayor said the president's 'divisive' rhetoric is 'last thing we need' after a mass shooting

AP Photo/John MinchilloDayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks during a news conference regarding a mass shooting earlier in the morning, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton, Ohio. At least nine people in Ohio have been killed in the second mass shooting in the U.S. in less than 24 hours, and the suspected shooter is also deceased, police said.
  • President Donald Trump visited Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday following a mass shooting that left nine people dead on Sunday.
  • Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said she only spoke to Trump briefly but urged him to take action on gun violence.
  • Trump, who faced protests while in Dayton, did not visit the district where the shooting took place and Whaley said that was a “good decision” given the anger toward the president in her community.
  • “A lot of the time his talk can be very divisive, and that’s the last thing we need in Dayton,” Whaley said of Trump.

President Donald Trump faced a tough crowd in Dayton, Ohio, as he visited the city on Wednesday following a devastating mass shooting that left nine people dead and over two dozen injured.

Mayor Nan Whaley said she met with Trump briefly, and urged him to take action to prevent future mass shootings by providing “common sense gun legislation.”

“The conversation at the airport was pretty brief,” Whaley said with Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown standing by her side. “[Trump] was moving quickly towards us and it was like, you know, Mr. President, the city of Dayton and people of Dayton are looking forward to some action. That’s that you can do to help us, is get some action on common sense gun legislation.”

Trump did not stop in the Oregon district of Dayton, where the deadly shooting occurred early on Sunday, which Whaley said was a “good decision.”

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“You saw some of the anger and agitation in our community about it,” Whaley said reporters, citing a vigil on Sunday where people expressed consternation at the president.

“I think a lot of people that own businesses in that district aren’t interested in the president being there,” she continued. “A lot of the time his talk can be very divisive, and that’s the last thing we need in Dayton.”

Whaley said she’s been “proud” of how her community has responded to the shooting and Trump’s visit, though she noted she hasn’t paid much attention to it today due to a visit to the hospital.

The Dayton mayor also said she’s not holding her breath for action on gun violence from Washington.

“We are looking for people in congress to come together, because the majority of Americans agree, so this should be an action,” Whaley said. “Do I think that we are going to see another mass shooting tomorrow or Friday? Probably, because Washington will not move.”

To her point, polling has shown the vast majority of Americans support policies such as expanding background checks, among other potential legislation related to guns. Trump on Wednesday signalled he’s open to pushing for an expansion on background checks.

Ahead of Trump’s visit, Whaley criticised the president’s general response and approach to the mass shooting in her community as well as one that occurred just hours before in El Paso, Texas. Trump headed to El Paso after his visit to Dayton on Tuesday.

“I’m disappointed with his remarks,” Whaley on Tuesday said of Trump’s statement the day before on the back-to-back shootings. “I think they fell really short. He mentioned gun issues like one time. I think watching the president over the past few years on the issue of guns, I don’t know if he knows what he believes, frankly.”

She also said that Trump’s rhetoric has been “painful” for a lot of people.

Trump has faced particularly strong criticism over the El Paso shooting. The shooting suspect wrote a manifesto expressing xenophobic sentiments and echoing Trump’s rhetoric on immigration. Local politicians in El Paso urged Trump not to visit.

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