Local leaders in both Dayton and El Paso are less than thrilled that Donald Trump is showing up this week to "heal the nation" when everyone freely admits he's making it all worse.
Donald Trump will seek to console the grief-stricken residents of El Paso and Dayton on Wednesday -- a presidential duty he’s never quite mastered and that is made harder by local reluctance about his visit.
The president and first lady Melania Trump will pay tribute to emergency responders in both cities after a pair of weekend shootings left at least 31 people dead and dozens injured. But the visits are complicated both by Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric -- blamed by Democrats for helping to incite the El Paso attack -- and his resistance to gun-control measures demanded by local politicians in the aftermath of the shootings.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is from El Paso, said Trump shouldn’t visit, and the city’s Republican mayor has acknowledged local opposition to the president. Dayton’s mayor, a Democrat, has criticized Trump’s reaction to the shootings, in which he blamed mental illness and video games and refused to endorse proposals such as expanded background checks for gun buyers.
“His comments weren’t very helpful to the issue around guns,” the mayor, Nan Whaley, said at a news conference on Tuesday. “If you just do mental health and don’t do gun work, on common-sense gun legislation, we will not be successful in this fight.”
The U.S. experiences mass shootings at a pace that far exceeds any other developed nation, but Trump’s Republican Party has resisted policies that seek to limit civilian access to firearms. Further complicating Trump’s attempts to soothe the nation, the El Paso attacker posted a racist manifesto online that echoed language the president himself has used in verbal attacks on immigrants and minority members of Congress.
“The president’s the president of all the people, and what he wants to do is go to these communities and grieve with them, pray with them, offer condolences, and quite frankly offer thank you and appreciation to those who are first responders and put their lives on the line and were able to take out the shooter so quickly,” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Tuesday.
“He also wants to talk about potential solutions -- how we keep this from ever happening again,” Gidley said.
Gidley said the president is open to considering new legislation, including a background checks bill that passed the House but has not been advanced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Democrats have called on McConnell to bring forward the bill.
Mitch doesn't have the time or inclination for a background check bill that will hand the Senate over to the Democrats as millions of rabid GOP voters turn on him and his Senate GOP colleagues, even if it is the humane thing to do.
Besides, everyone knows the Narcissist-in-Chief is only doing this for the congratulatory news coverage of himself from FOX announcing what a good, good boy he is for not literally taking a steaming dump on the stage and rolling in it.
Meanwhile, Republicans around Trump are in full panic mode as they know this will cost them their offices across the country if they refuse to act, so at the state level, expect bills to at least get a vote.
Well, not in Texas. Ohio maybe. But you get the picture.