El Paso orphan’s family explains Trump photo with baby

The uncle of an infant who lost both parents in the Saturday mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, that killed more than 20 people defended a photo the president took with the child while giving a thumbs up, The Washington Post reported.

Trump traveled to El Paso on Wednesday to meet with first responders, hospital workers and victims of the shootings.

Tito Anchondo, whose brother and sister-in-law were killed in the attack, chose to take his orphaned nephew to meet the president and first lady. The 2-month-old boy suffered two broken fingers, but he survived the shooting after his parents shielded him.

Anchondo told The Washington Post he wanted to take the boy to meet the president and tell him about his family. 

{mosads} “He was just there as a human being, consoling us and giving his condolences,” Anchondo said of Trump.

Anchondo said Trump “wasn’t there to be pushing any kind of political agenda,” calling the meeting “a private conversation between human beings.” 

First lady Melania Trump tweeted photos Thursday of her and the president’s trip to Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso after the shootings over the weekend in both cities.

In one picture, the first lady is holding the baby while Trump stands next to her showing a thumbs up. They are joined by Anchondo and his sister, Deborah Ontiveros.

Some people called out the photo online, calling Trump’s smile and thumbs up inappropriate and suggesting he was using the opportunity as a “photo op.”

But Anchondo rejected that criticism, telling telling NPR that his family members are Republican conservatives, and his brother “was very supportive of Trump.” Instead, Anchondo said that he wanted to “have a human-to-human talk” with the president, despite none of the eight currently hospitalized victims of the shooting reportedly agreeing to meet with Trump.

“I want to see his reaction in person,” Anchondo told NPR. “I want to see if he’s genuine and see if my political views are right or wrong. And see if he feels maybe some kind of remorse for statements that he’s made. I just want to have a human-to-human talk with him and see how he feels.”

An anonymous White House official told The Washington Post that Trump was told about the baby, and Anchondo was kind to the president during their meeting.

Trump took other thumbs-up photos at the hospital during the visit, too, a White House official said, noting that other such pictures have concerned aides who have encouraged him to strike a more empathetic tone.

Tags Ana Navarro Donald Trump El Paso Melania Trump
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