President Trump has sparked a new round of outrage by flashing a thumbs-up sign in a photo op for a 2-month-old boy whose parents were both murdered in the El Paso gun rampage.
A grinning Trump made the inappropriate gesture as First Lady Melania Trump held little Paul Anchondo during their visit to a hospital in the stricken city on Wednesday.
The odd pose came to light Thursday when the First Lady tweeted several photos from their visit to hospitals in Dayton and El Paso, where at least 31 people were gunned down last weekend.
I met many incredible people in Dayton, Ohio & El Paso, Texas yesterday. Their communities are strong and unbreakable. @potus and I stand with you! pic.twitter.com/SHzV6zcVKR
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 8, 2019
The White House reportedly asked relatives of the boy to bring him to the hospital to meet the Trumps. Eight survivors being treated at University Medical Center refused to meet with the president, who is blamed by many in El Paso for stoking the anti-immigrant hatred that drove the gunman.
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The boy’s aunt and uncle brought him to the hospital to meet the Trumps, and insisted that his father was a supporter of the president.
“I think people are misconstruing President Trump’s ideas,” the uncle told NPR. “My brother was very supportive of Trump.”
Trump already sparked controversy by joking with hospital staffers that he was more popular that Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, noting that “crazy Beto” draw a small crowd “in a parking lot” at the same time Trump was speaking to thousands in a nearby arena.
White House press officials refused to let media accompany the Trumps on their visits to the hospitals, saying they were supposed to be private meetings with victims not “photo ops.” Trump reportedly complained afterward that he did not receive enough positive coverage of the visits.