DAYTON, Ohio (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump met in Ohio on Wednesday with victims and first responders from one among final weekend’s two lethal mass shootings, whereas protesters chanting “Do One thing!” and “You’re why” accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.
Trump visited Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, the place the wounded have been handled after 9 folks and the suspect have been killed in a rampage early on Sunday, one among two mass shootings 13 hours aside that shocked the nation.
Crowds of protesters outdoors the hospital and in downtown Dayton held indicators studying, “Hate not welcome right here,” and “Cease this terror.”
White Home spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham stated on Twitter that Trump stopped by hospital rooms and met with sufferers whereas thanking the medical employees for his or her work.
“You had God watching. I would like you to know we’re with you all the way in which,” she quoted Trump as saying on the hospital.
Later within the day, Trump will go to the Texas metropolis of El Paso, on the border with Mexico, the place 22 folks have been killed at a Walmart retailer on Saturday by a 21-year-old man who had posted an anti-immigrant manifesto on-line.
The back-to-back massacres have reopened the nationwide debate over gun security.
As he left the White Home, Trump stated he wished to strengthen background checks for gun purchases and ensure mentally ailing folks didn’t carry weapons. He predicted congressional assist for these two measures however not for banning assault rifles.
“I can let you know that there is no such thing as a political urge for food for that at this second,” Trump advised reporters on the White Home. “However I’ll actually deliver that up … There’s a nice urge for food, and I imply a really robust urge for food, for background checks.”
In Dayton, Trump was greeted on the airport by a bipartisan group of state and native officers, together with Democratic Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
They advised reporters afterward that they urged Trump to name on Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell to deliver the Senate again from its summer season recess to work on a Home-passed invoice that expands background checks on gun patrons.
Brown stated he requested Trump to vow he would signal that invoice. “He solely stated that we are going to get issues executed,” Brown stated, including the president had been “comforting” to the victims.
Whaley stated she agreed with Trump’s determination to not go to the district the place the taking pictures occurred given the excessive feelings in the neighborhood.
“Lots of people that personal companies in that district aren’t within the president being there,” she advised reporters. “Quite a lot of the time his discuss might be very divisive and that’s the very last thing we’d like in Dayton.”
Democrats say Trump’s anti-immigrant, racially charged language at rallies and on Twitter has executed a lot to fan racist, white nationalist sentiments, making a political local weather extra conducive to hate-based violence.
The El Paso bloodbath is being investigated as a hate crime and the FBI stated the Dayton shooter had explored violent ideologies.
An open letter to Trump on Wednesday within the El Paso Instances described the border metropolis as having “a deep custom of racial concord” whose folks got here collectively after the tragedy. It admonished Trump for calling El Paso one of many nation’s most harmful cities in his February State of the Union handle.
Authorities have stated they’re investigating Saturday’s taking pictures spree within the predominantly Hispanic metropolis as a hate crime and an act of home terrorism. They cited a racist manifesto posted on-line shortly earlier than the taking pictures, which they attributed to the suspect.
On Monday, Trump gave a speech specializing in psychological well being reforms, tighter web regulation and wider use of the demise penalty. Democrats accuse Trump of hiding behind discuss of psychological sickness and the affect of social media fairly than committing to legal guidelines they insist are wanted to limit gun possession and the sorts of weapons which might be authorized.
In Iowa, Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden deliberate to say in a marketing campaign speech, “We have now a president with a poisonous tongue who has publicly and unapologetically embraced a political technique of hate, racism, and division.”
In an indication of upper tensions after the shootings, a motorbike backfiring on Tuesday evening in New York’s Instances Sq. despatched crowds operating for concern of one other gun assault.
Trump, in his televised White Home speech on Monday, condemned “sinister ideologies” and hate. His supporters say Democrats unfairly blame him for the habits of criminals.
U.S. Consultant Veronica Escobar, a Democrat whose congressional district contains El Paso, declared that Trump “just isn’t welcome right here.”
She stated on Twitter on Tuesday she declined a White Home invitation to affix Trump in El Paso after being advised he was too busy to talk along with her by cellphone prematurely. “I refuse to be an adjunct to his go to,” Escobar later advised CNN.
Former Texas congressman and El Paso native Beto O’Rourke, who’s in search of the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, stated Trump “helped create the hatred that made Saturday’s tragedy potential” and thus “has no place right here.”
In an obvious reply to his criticism, Trump stated on Twitter late on Tuesday O’Rourke “ought to respect the victims & legislation enforcement – & be quiet!”
Not everybody agreed that Trump ought to keep away.
“This isn’t a political go to,” El Paso Mayor Dee Margo advised reporters. “He’s president of the USA. So in that capability, I’ll fulfill my obligations as mayor of El Paso to fulfill with the president and talk about no matter our wants are on this group.”
Further reporting by Nandita Bose, Wealthy McKay, Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Barbara Goldberg in New York; Enhancing by Howard Goller and Alistair Bell