Less than 24 hours after President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited with victims of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Twitter recoiled in disgust at an image Tweeted out by the first lady’s official Twitter account that showed the pair all-smiles — and the president inexplicably flashing a thumbs-up – while holding an injured two-month-old baby who lost both parents days earlier in the massacre.
Trump, who was widely-criticized on Thursday after video showed him attacking political rivals and bragging about his past rally crowd sizes in El Paso to hospital staff, reportedly requested that the orphaned baby be brought back to the hospital to meet with him.
According to ABC reporter David Alandete: “I interviewed the kid’s grandfather this afternoon and he confirmed that the White House sent two people to his home to ask him to be present during the visit. No one arranged for the photo beforehand but FLOTUS decided to hold the baby, who has a broken hand.”
I interviewed the kid’s grandfather this afternoon and he confirmed that the White House sent two people to his home to ask him to be present during the visit. No one arranged for the photo beforehand but FLOTUS decided to hold the baby, who has a broken hand…
— David Alandete (@alandete) August 9, 2019
The baby, who is currently staying with his grandparents, was reportedly brought back to the hospital by his uncle, a supporter of the president’s, for the visit, reports NPR.
Jordan Anchondo, the baby’s mother, died while protecting her son from the hail of bullets. The next day, her family confirmed her husband Andre had also died. The baby was treated for broken bones – the result of his mother’s fall, reports CBS News.
“From the baby’s injuries, they said that more than likely my sister was trying to shield him,” said the boy’s aunt, Leta Jamrowski. “So when she got shot she was holding him and she fell on him, so that’s why he broke some of his bones. So he pretty much lived because she gave her life.”
None of the eight patients still under hospital care in El Paso consented to a visit from the president on Wednesday.
“This is a very sensitive time in their lives. Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the president, some of them didn’t want any visitors,” University Medical Center spokesman Ryan Mielke told The Washington Post, although he confirmed that two already-discharged victims returned to the hospital to meet with the president, which included the two-month old orphan.
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta spoke with a hospital official that said Trump showed “an absence of empathy” during his visit to El Paso.
I can’t get over it. The lack of…well, everything human. https://t.co/YDKaZyHNHM
— kristen johnston (@thekjohnston) August 8, 2019
Political scientist and Washington Post columnist Brian Klass ripped into Trump for turning his hospital visit after a massacre “Into a campaign ad starring himself.”
“It takes a truly sick person to try to turn a bloodbath into a campaign ad starring himself. Just revolting,” he tweeted.
It takes a truly sick person to try to turn a bloodbath into a campaign ad starring himself. Just revolting. https://t.co/AHijjwMpoF
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) August 8, 2019
This child just lost both parents to a white supremacist who drove 10 hours to a Wal Mart to kill Hispanics because, like Trump, he was concerned about an immigrant invasion.
Why, exactly, are the President and First Lady smiling? Why the hell is he doing the thumbs up sign? pic.twitter.com/BzSTljzGB4
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) August 9, 2019
From @FLOTUS’s Twitter account…
Why can’t he just act like a human being for once? pic.twitter.com/zUOHGo2X9D
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) August 9, 2019
There will be tons of ‘think pieces’ written this weekend about if you should or should not cancel Equinox and SoulCycle and probably almost nothing writtten about Melania Trump using an orphaned child in a photo-op.
— Roland Scahill (@rolandscahill) August 9, 2019
Commander Trump and his wife Melania showed off the baby with pride, as their Handmaid, Ofdonald, lurked in the kitchen with the Marthas, plotting the revolution in Gilead.
— Bina Shah (@BinaShah) August 9, 2019
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.
I would need 280,000 characters to say how furious I am. pic.twitter.com/4umSc9BQHu
— Greg Pinelo (@gregpinelo) August 9, 2019
Good Lord, people.
It doesn't make what Trump did one bit less despicable if the grandparents of the baby with no parents are Trump supporters. What they are, are victims. They're traumatized. They're grief-stricken.They were exploited. I don't care whose idea the photo was.
— Greg Pinelo (@gregpinelo) August 9, 2019
This baby's parents were just murdered by a psychopath who was incited by Trump's xenophobia.
I'm not sure I've even been as angry as I am right now. This photo op is disgusting. And Melania can f ck all the way off. pic.twitter.com/RUgsP6Z6op
— Jamie O'Grady 🤔 (@JamieOGrady) August 9, 2019
AIDE: The baby’s parents were murdered in the El Paso shooting.
TRUMP: Got it.
AIDE: This has to be a solemn photo.
TRUMP: Of course.
AIDE: No smiling and NO THUM—
TRUMP: Would you relax? I get it.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) August 9, 2019