Donald Trump’s aides had reportedly planned for the president to make private visits to El Paso and Dayton to meet with victims of mass shootings there but had to scrap those plans after the president grew furious at critical media coverage and demanded they release photos and video that were flattering to him.
A report from The New York Times claimed that White House aides were concerned that the president’s visit could overwhelm the patients still recovering from gunshot wounds and other injuries from a pair of mass shootings that took place in a span of 13 hours last week. The White House announced that there would be no press pool traveling with Trump on the visits, saying that it was meant to be a private event.
But the visits became public after the White House released a campaign-style video showing hospital staff smiling alongside Donald Trump, while inspirational music played in the background of the video. As the report from The New York Times noted, the abrupt change came from Trump himself. The report claimed that Trump was watching television coverage of his visits while onboard Air Force One and grew “furious” at critical coverage of his visits. Critics of Trump said that his harsh rhetoric toward immigrants and refusal to condemn white supremacists were a motivating factor in at least one of the shootings, as police were investigating the El Paso attack as a potential hate crime.
As The Week noted, Trump’s anger prompted his staff to move quickly to placate his need for coverage more flattering of himself.
“So, the aides began distributing photos and video of Trump posing with doctors, nurses, and family members, including one photo in which he’s giving a thumbs up while standing alongside the brother of a victim, who says he began receiving hate calls after the photograph circulated,” the report noted. “A White House official told the Times that Trump was not being insensitive, but rather showing his ‘authentic’ self, by being approachable and supportive, while posing for the photograph.”
A hospital official confirms to CNN that this is the baby who was brought back to the hospital to meet with Trump and FLOTUS after the child had been discharged. The two month old’s parents, Jordan and Andre Anchondo died protecting him during the El Paso shooting. pic.twitter.com/J468ygdPnM
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 9, 2019
The release of the photos and videos only led to more criticism for Trump, including accusations that his demeanor was insensitive and that he failed to approach the trip with the proper gravity. As The Inquisitr noted, the photo of Donald and Melania Trump smiling with the baby whose parents were killed in the El Paso attack drew particular condemnation, though later reports showed that the infant’s family members had brought him to meet the president.