Donald Trump is coming under fire for posing with a big smile and thumbs up in a photo with a baby who lost both parents in the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas.
The image went viral this week as Trump has been criticized for his behavior during visits to victims and first responders from the mass shootings that took place in a span of 13 hours last weekend in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio. As a report from The Independent noted, the image of Trump grinning while First Lady Melania Trump held the now-orphaned baby has led to some very strong reactions.
“Donald Trump has sparked global revulsion after being photographed grinning with a two-month-old child who was made an orphan during Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso which left 22 people dead,” the report noted, adding that the baby had suffered serious injuries in the attack. Both of the baby’s adopted parents, Andre and Jordan Anchondo, were killed while shielding their son from the bullets after a man opened fire outside of a Walmart shopping center.
The report went on to criticize Trump for appearing unmoved by the tragedy that had taken place.
“[W]hen the baby, called Paul, was brought to the U.S. president at the University Medical Center of El Paso, the 73-year-old appeared untouched by the child’s tragic plight. Both he and first lady Melania smiled for cameras, while the commander-in-chief also threw in a thumbs up,” the report from the British newspaper noted.
The photo was shared on Melania Trump’s Twitter account, though the baby was not identified in the picture, Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall reported on Twitter.
Many others have criticized Donald Trump for appearing to treat the visits to the mass shooting victims as something more resembling a campaign stop. Trump was seen smiling and laughing as he posed with hospital workers, and the White House later released a campaign-style video of Trump shaking hands with hospital staff, overlaid with inspirational music.
From the First Lady’s twitter account, this appears to be the baby both of whose parents died shielding him from the El Paso shooter. The baby in question was discharged the day before and brought back for Trumps visit. Child is not id’d on @flotus account. But appears to... pic.twitter.com/17L6XQROMS— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) August 9, 2019
The tenor of Trump’s visit also irked many on the hospital staff, with CNN reporter Jim Acosta noting that one official said Trump showed “an absence of empathy” during his visit there.
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
Another video shared by Fox 14 showed Trump being given a tour of the hospital at the University Medical Center of El Paso. After praising the work of the doctors and nurses at the hospital for treating the shooting victims, Trump quickly transitioned into a speech bragging about the crowd size at his campaign rally in El Paso earlier in the year compared to presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who once represented El Paso’s district in the House of Representatives.
City officials in El Paso said that Donald Trump owes close to $570,000 in security costs from that rally, which the Trump campaign has failed to pay.