After visiting two hospitals this week to meet with victims of two separate mass shootings in different cities, many on social media were critical of how President Donald Trump presented himself.
A shooting in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday resulted in 22 killed. Another shooting, hours later in Dayton, Ohio, on Sunday morning, resulted in nine individuals being murdered. Dozens were injured in both incidents.
Some found his demeanor — smiling, giving the “thumbs up” sign, and acting jovial at times — to be inappropriate for an occasion where the chief executive has, at times, acted as the “healer-in-chief.” Several on social media expressed their disdain.
Nothing says a country is mourning after such violent bloodshed like The President of The United States smiling from ear to ear and giving the thumbs up, while victims are still healing down the hall, and the dead are still cooling in the morgue. #Trump pic.twitter.com/nY9dZJTdjM
— Prairie Frost ~ Lifestyle & Self- Sustainability (@jcheethamwriter) August 8, 2019
He's not here for the photo-ops they said. Trump and Melania took pics smiling with a mass shooting victim, after a mass shooting he inspired. They even put a filter on it for special effects.
— Big Boss (@escapedmatrix) August 8, 2019
Trump poses for a photo op at the hospital in Dayton, Ohio smiling like Pennywise the Clown from Stephen KIng's IT.
— Stone 🥶 (@stonecold2050) August 8, 2019
Here's Trump visiting Miami Valley Hospital following the horrific mass shooting which took 9 lives and injured another 27 in Dayton, Ohio.
Doesn't he look grief stricken? pic.twitter.com/r7Yg52adCW
— Alamo_on_the_rise 🆘 (@AlamoOnTheRise) August 7, 2019
It was also reported that several of the victims refused to meet with Trump when he came to the hospitals, believing his rhetoric and recent statements after the shooting were not deserving of recognition, previous reporting from HillReporter.com detailed.
On Thursday afternoon, CNN White House reporter Jim Acosta tweeted out that the network had reached out to a hospital administrator, who also expressed unease with the president’s actions during his visits.
“A hospital official tells CNN Trump showed ‘an absence of empathy’ during his visit to El Paso,” Acosta wrote in his tweet. Trump also met with an infant who had been protected by both of her parents during the shooting. It’s unclear who brought the infant to the hospital.
A hospital official tells CNN Trump showed “an absence of empathy” during his visit to El Paso. Also, Trump and FLOTUS both met baby who was shielded by parents who died in the shooting. The baby was brought back to the hospital to see the president. More on @CNNSitRoom tonight.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 8, 2019
Trump also took criticism from the press and the public after his staff explained to reporters at the Dayton, Ohio, hospital that they would not be allowed to join Trump as he met with workers and survivors of the mass shooting. The official explanation had been that the president didn’t want to turn the event into a photo op, but later that evening Trump’s Twitter account promoted a video of him, which many said fit the descriptor perfectly.