Friday 23 August, 2019

Protesters chant against Trump as he visits Dayton, El Paso

Aiming to play the traditional role of healer during national tragedy, President Donald Trump paid visits to cities reeling from mass shootings that left 31 dead and dozens more wounded. But his divisive words preceded him, large protests greeted him and biting political attacks soon followed.

The Republican president and first lady Melania Trump flew to El Paso late Wednesday after visiting the Dayton, Ohio, hospital where many of the victims of Sunday’s attack in that city were treated. For most of the day, the president was kept out of view of the reporters travelling with him, but the White House said the couple met with hospital staff and first responders and spent time with wounded survivors and their families.

Trump told them he was “with them,” said press secretary Stephanie Grisham. “Everybody received him very warmly. Everybody was very, very excited to see him.” Trump said the same about his reception in the few moments he spoke with the media at a 911 call centre in El Paso.

But outside Dayton’s Miami Valley Hospital, at least 200 protesters gathered, blaming Trump’s incendiary rhetoric for inflaming political and racial tensions in the country and demanding action on gun control. Some said Trump was not welcome in their city. There were Trump supporters, as well.

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