Donald & Melania Trump Face Backlash for Holding Baby Orphaned After El Paso Shooting During Visit
The Trumps took a photo with Paul Anchondo, an infant whose parents were killed in the El Paso shooting.
During a trip to victims at University Medical Cente, the first couple took a photo with Paul Anchondo, an infant whose parents were killed in the shooting.
Jordan and Andre were shopping for school supplies for their 5-year-old daughter on Aug. 3 when gunfire erupted, Jordan’s aunt Elizabeth Terry told CNN. During the incident, Jordan shielded her baby while Andre shielded his wife, Jordan’s father, Paul Jamrowski, told the Today show.
On Thursday, Mrs. Trump was seen holding the baby, who a senior White House official confirmed to CNN is the son of Jordan Anchondo, 25, and Andre Anchondo, 24. Meanwhile, the president gave a thumbs-up and smiled for the photo op with the baby’s relatives, including the infant’s uncle Tito Anchondo.
Baby Paul’s uncle Tito also told the Associated Press that Trump “was just there to give his condolences and he was just being a human being.” Tito previously told NPR that he and his brother are Trump supporters.
However, many people were not pleased with the president’s thumbs-up pose in the photos.
“This is a photo of Trump grinning while Melania holds a baby orphaned by the shooting. A baby who was taken from home and forced to serve as a prop at a photo-op for the very monster whose hate killed her/his parents,” Democratic strategist Greg Pinelo tweeted in response to the photo. “I would need 280,000 characters to say how furious I am.”
Washington Post columnist Brian Klaas tweeted, “I’ve don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who would think the appropriate response would be flashing a smile and thumbs up. Something is wrong with him.”
WYNC journalist Tanzina Vega added on CNN that there was a “tone-deafness” to Trump’s visits to El Paso and Dayton, Ohio where a second mass shooting occurred this week.
The first lady posted a series of photos from the trip on Twitter, writing, “Met many incredible people in Dayton, Ohio & El Paso, Texas yesterday. Their communities are strong and unbreakable. @potus and I stand with you!”
Meanwhile, a hospital official told CNN’s Jim Acosta that the president acted with “an absence of empathy” during the hospital visit.
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According to TIME, Tito did not wish to describe his visit with Trump in further detail, adding that he had received death threats.
“We should be coming together as a country at this time instead of threatening each other with hate messages,” he said.