The remaining eight patients being treated at University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas following a deadly mass shooting over the weekend declined to meet with the president during his visit there Wednesday.
‘This is a very sensitive time in their lives,’ UMC spokesperson Ryan Mielke told The Washington Post. ‘Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the president. Some of them didn’t want any visitors.’
Mielke also said the people Donald Trump met with at the hospital were two victims who had already been discharged that returned to the hospital with their families to meet with the president.
Even though the eight victims still being treated didn’t meet with Trump, they did accept visits from other Democratic officials, including Texas Representative Veronica Escobar and Illinois Representative Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Trump and first lady Melania Trump met with ‘victims of the tragedy while at the hospital.’
She claimed they were ‘received very warmly by not just victims and their families, but by the many members of medical staff who lined the hallways to meet them. It was a moving visit for all involved.’
Trump made visits to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso on Wednesday to meet with first responders, law enforcement and victims after two mass shootings rocked the cities over the weekend. The shooter in El Paso killed 22 people when he opened fired in a Walmart and nine were shot dead on a popular street in Dayton just hours later around 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
The president lauded the trips as successful, calling it ‘an amazing day,’ filled with ‘love’ and ‘respect for the office of the presidency.’
Several Democrats have blamed Trump’s loaded rhetoric for facilitating an environment that has emboldened this type of violence – especially after the 21-year-old suspected shooter in El Paso’s supposed online manifesto was discovered, which included several anti-immigrant sentiments.
Those running for president in 2020 called the president a white nationalist.
On Monday, the president made public remarks in the aftermath of the shootings, condemning hate and calling for something to be done online so warning signs could be detected.
‘We must recognize that the Internet has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts,’ he said in the televised remarks. ‘We must shine light on the dark recesses of the Internet, and stop mass murders before they start.’
Trump announced on Tuesday he would be visiting both cities where the massacres occurred.
The news was met with mixed reviews. Former Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke, who is now running for president, said there was ‘no place here’ for Trump. O’Rourke’s district included El Paso and he and his family still live there.
Demonstrators set up in the Oregon district in Dayton, where the shooting took place – some held signs and chanted, ‘Do something!’ in a call for stricter gun legislation. Trump avoided this area.
Both Mayors, Democrat in Dayton and Republican in El Paso, said they would ‘welcome’ the president in an official capacity.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said, ‘I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the president of the United States came to Dayton.’
And Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown even admitted Trump was right to visit the cities.
‘They were hurting. He was comforting. He did the right things. Melania did the right things,’ Brown told reporters. ‘And it’s his job in part to comfort people. I’m glad he did it in those hospital rooms.’