Standing in front of a sign that reads University Medical Center of El Paso, Melania and Donald Trump wear smiles on their faces. Melania holds Paul, a baby boy, and the president gives the camera a thumbs up. If you had no context for the image, you would think this marked a happy moment in someone’s life. Instead, this image was taken in El Paso, less than a week after a gunman opened fire at a Walmart and killed 22, including Andre and Jordan Anchondo, both parents of the toddler in Melania’s arms. Paul, who is alive because his parents protected him, and his siblings are now orphans, and once again Trump has shown that he’s not capable of handling trying times.
From the First Lady’s twitter account, this appears to be the baby both of whose parents died shielding him from the El Paso shooter. The baby in question was discharged the day before and brought back for Trumps visit. Child is not id’d on @flotus account. But appears to… pic.twitter.com/17L6XQROMS
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) August 9, 2019
Reports from medical officials back up what’s seen in the photo. On Twitter, Jim Acosta reported that an official said that Trump showed “an absence of empathy” during his visit. None of the victims in the hospital wanted to meet with Trump (some couldn’t, but others specifically didn’t want to meet with Trump), so the baby was brought back to the hospital for the photo-op. The baby’s uncle, who is also pictured, is reportedly a Trump supporter, as was the baby’s father.
A hospital official tells CNN Trump showed “an absence of empathy” during his visit to El Paso. Also, Trump and FLOTUS both met baby who was shielded by parents who died in the shooting. The baby was brought back to the hospital to see the president. More on @CNNSitRoom tonight.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 8, 2019
The entire visit was handled poorly. Shortly after his visit, his team released a highly stylized video that is once again tonally off.
My time spent in Dayton and El Paso with some of the greatest people on earth. Thank you for a job well done! pic.twitter.com/TNVDGhxOpo
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2019
This isn’t the first time Trump has bungled a post-tragedy visit. Back in 2017, after Hurricane María decimated Puerto Rico, Trump threw rolls of paper towels at the crowd and failed to express any genuine grief.
As the image of the Trumps posing happily alongside an orphaned child circulate online, people have expressed their disappointment and anger. Check out some reactions below.