Dayton mayor: Trump’s tweets ‘did a disservice’ to visit for mass shooting

Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley (D) said Thursday she believes President Trump’s tweets a day earlier lashing out at Democrats and the media “did a disservice” to his trip to visit first responders and survivors of recent mass shootings.

“If those tweets weren’t mentioned at all his trip would be fine, and instead there’s a big discussion about what was the purpose of this trip,” Whaley said in a conference call with reporters. “And that’s unfortunate for the victims and first responders who do deserve a visit by the president.”

Whaley reiterated that she felt victims of the shooting in her city that left nine dead and dozens injured were “very pleased” to meet Trump, but acknowledged it exacerbated emotions among residents.

{mosads}Trump visited Dayton and El Paso, Texas, on Wednesday, days after mass shootings over the weekend left more than 30 people dead. The violence, which occurred in a span of roughly 15 hours, has renewed the debate in the country over gun laws.

But the visits were marked by tensions as protesters gathered in both cities to demand stricter gun laws and denounce the president’s rhetoric, which some Democrats have argued contributed to the violence in El Paso.

Trump further stoked controversy when he tweeted shortly after departing Dayton that he felt Whaley and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) misrepresented the nature of his visit.

“They’re very dishonest people,” Trump said as he met with first responders in El Paso.

Whaley and Brown toured a hospital with Trump and told the media after the fact that the president had been “comforting” and the victims were appreciative. They noted that some in the community had reservations about his visit and said they pressed Trump to act on gun laws.

El Paso Mayor Dee Margo (R) said he felt Trump’s visit was “presidential,” recounting how he met with victims, physicians and first responders who were on the scene of Saturday’s shooting.

Most of Trump’s visit occurred out of sight from the press, aside from a meeting where he praised the work of first responders. Video posted Thursday by an El Paso news station showed the president celebrating the work of hospital staff before bragging about his crowd size during a February rally in the city.

“That was some crowd,” Trump said in the video. “And we had twice the number outside. And then you had this crazy [Beto O’Rourke]. Beto had 400 people in a parking lot.”

Margo told reporters that he had limited direct conversation with Trump, but that he brought up the city’s history, its culture and its needs after the shooting.

“He had never really been here. He had never really seen it. He had come at night and he left at night,” Margo said. “I thought he understood a little bit more about the history in our region and the border.”

Tags Beto O'Rourke Dayton Donald Trump El Paso Mass shootings Nan Whaley Sherrod Brown

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