This past Wednesday, President Donald Trump visited the sites of two mass shootings that rocked the United States last weekend. In El Paso, 22 people were killed by a white nationalist gunman who stormed one of the immigrant community’s Walmarts, and in Dayton, nine people were killed by a gunman whose motives are less immediately clear. Trump’s visits to these places completely glossed over the real substantive issues in the situation to the point of doctors at the El Paso medical center he visited telling The Guardian that Trump appeared to “lack empathy.” Imagine the depths we’ve sunk to as a nation when doctors treating mass shooting victims are left taken aback by a lack of “empathy” on the part of the visiting president of the United States.
While at the El Paso medical facilities, Trump didn’t even meet with any victims who were still being treated. Three of them couldn’t receive visitors thanks to their conditions or an inability to speak English, while the other five of them turned down the president’s team’s invitations. Instead, Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, and the White House entourage met with victims who came back to the medical center, including a family who brought along a baby who’d lost both of his parents in the shooting. Trump was photographed grinning with a thumbs up sign posing with Melania, the baby, and the child’s uncle. There’s an example of the lack of “empathy” those doctors were concerned about.
Also while at the El Paso medical facilities, Trump started railing on about — you guessed it — crowd sizes. Earlier this year, he held a campaign rally in the city to stump for his long sought southern border wall, and on the same night, former local Congressman turned presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke held a counter rally. While at the hospital, Trump bragged about garnering a larger crowd size than “crazy” O’Rourke, who earlier in the day on Twitter he’d told to “be quiet” following criticism of Trump spouting the same anti-immigrant rhetoric that the El Paso shooter used.
In other words, there was an abject failure of the current president of the United States to offer much of anything in the way of substantive leadership in the midst of a time of national mourning over a pair of mass shootings. Instead, he made the occasion all about himself — literally, considering the report that he “lashed out at his aides for keeping the cameras away from him, and complained that he wasn’t receiving enough credit” and then, his team put out a campaign-style video chronicling his time there.
Trump personally took to Twitter following his visits with the mass shooting victims to complain about the “Fake News” supposedly misconstruing his behavior and assert that really, he had a great reception — as if that matters at all to the actual substance of the issue at hand.
Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have discussed implementing something like a universal background check requirement for gun sales — after this has long been favored by a majority of Americans and the Democrat-majority House already passed a bill that would enact it.
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