If he was paying attention (which isn’t a given), President Donald Trump got a reality check during his visit to El Paso this Wednesday, days following a mass shooting at a local Walmart in which 22 people were killed. Not a single one of the eight wounded victims who were still at the local University Medical Center agreed to meet with him when he visited, according to a hospital spokesperson. Although there’s not a clear indication that every last one of them had this concern in mind, the El Paso shooter explicitly cited the same anti-immigrant rhetoric that Trump has used as an excuse for his attack. In a manifesto posted online before his attack in the immigrant community, he — like Trump — railed about a supposed “Hispanic invasion” of Texas.
Even still, during his time in El Paso this week, two victims who had been discharged from the hospital already did return to the facility to meet with Trump. Hospital spokesperson Ryan Mielke explained the situation:
‘This is a very sensitive time in their lives. Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the president, some of them didn’t want any visitors.’
Notably, in recent days some victims have agreed to meet with other leaders, like local Congresswoman Veronica Escobar and El Paso City Council member Claudia Ordaz. The Washington Post says that the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a separate statement, First Lady Melania Trump’s spokesperson turned White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham cited “many members of the medical staff who lined the halls to meet” President Donald Trump and Melania. She didn’t seem to note that those staff members literally had to be there. It’s their job.
Of course, Trump himself managed to use the opportunity of his El Paso visit to again disparage the mainstream media. On Twitter, he whined that the “Fake News worked overtime trying to disparage me and the two trips, but it just didn’t work” because the “love, respect, and enthusiasm were there for all to see.” Besides El Paso, Trump also visited Dayton on Wednesday, where 10 people were killed in a mass shooting hours after the El Paso incident. The “Fake News” didn’t “make up” that Trump didn’t exactly get a warm reception — there were publicly visible protests in both places, including some demonstrators in Dayton who even brought out one of the infamous balloons depicting Trump as a crying baby using Twitter.
Trump has adamantly refused to acknowledge any issues with his rhetoric that people have pointed to in the aftermath of the El Paso shooting. When pressed by journalists on the White House lawn this week about whether he had any regret, he insisted not just that he shouldn’t be considered connected despite the directly quoted rhetoric, but that what he says “brings people together”! Imagine the egomania required to assert that demanding we literally build a wall to block off an entire other country “brings people together.”
In the same conversation with reporters, Trump also insisted that he still remains committed to the blatantly false line that undocumented immigration poses some kind of special danger to the United States. In reality, undocumented immigrants are arrested at a lower rate than native-born Americans, southern border counties have comparatively low crime rates — and many undocumented immigrants even pay taxes!
Featured Image via screenshot