Trump: El Paso shooting patients being treated at hospital 'refused to meet with president'

'Some of them said they didn't want to meet with the president. Some of them didn't want any visitors,' spokesperson says

Tom Embury-Dennis
Thursday 08 August 2019 10:56 EDT
Donald Trump visits Dayton and El Paso after mass shootings

El Paso mass shooting patients being treated at a local hospital refused to meet with Donald Trump when he visited, a spokesperson for the facility has said.

The US president on Wednesday travelled to both the Texas city and Dayton, Ohio, to meet with victims and first responders following two mass shootings over the weekend which left 31 people dead and dozens injured.

But following Mr Trump's departure from University Medical Center (UMC), where he met two victims already discharged by the hospital, UMC spokesperson Ryan Mielke revealed the eight patients still being treated there did not agree to meet the US leader.

"This is a very sensitive time in their lives," Mr 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."

The newspaper reported some of the victims did, however, meet a number of locally elected officials, including Democratic congresswoman Veronica Escobar.

Mr Trump’s arrival in El Paso was met with opposition by some of the city’s elected officials and thousands of its residents, who have accused the 73-year-old of using inflammatory rhetoric and encouraging white supremacy - a racist ideology allegedly espoused by the gunman who attacked shoppers at a local Walmart.

Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic 2020 presidential contender and El Paso native who has denounced Mr Trump as a racist instigator, said the president had “helped create the hatred that made Saturday’s tragedy possible” and thus “has no place here”.

Protesters booed Mr Trump as he and the first lady were driven to meet the survivors and first responders at the hospital, outnumbering the president’s supporters who cheered his motorcade.

Mr Trump was, however, praised by Sherrod Brown, a Democratic senator for Ohio, who said the president was “comforting” and “did the right things” during his meeting with Dayton shooting victims.

Despite being cast by some as the “consoler-in-chief”, Mr Trump used his flight time on the way back to the White House to attack his critics and boast on Twitter about how shooting victims had shown him “love, respect & enthusiasm”.

“Leaving El Paso for the White House. What GREAT people I met there and in Dayton, Ohio,” Mr Trump tweeted.

“The Fake News worked overtime trying to disparage me and the two trips, but it just didn’t work. The love, respect & enthusiasm were there for all to see. They have been through so much. Sad!”

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