© 2024 KGOU
Photo of Lake Murray State Park showing Tucker Tower and the marina in the background
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Trump Met By Protesters During His Visit To Meet With Dayton Shooting Victims


President Trump flew from Washington to Dayton, Ohio, to El Paso today to offer comfort to the victims of the mass shootings in those two cities.


It's a traditional role for this nontraditional president. And as he prepared to board Marine One, Trump denied that his rhetoric is divisive.


PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I think my rhetoric is a very - it brings people together. Our country is doing incredibly well.

CORNISH: Despite the fact that minutes earlier, he'd accused his rivals of raising political tensions in the aftermath of the attacks.


TRUMP: So my critics are political people. They're trying to make points. In many cases, they're running for president. They're very low in the polls. A couple of them in particular - very low in the polls.

SHAPIRO: Once he landed, Trump was met by protesters who lined the streets to denounce the president's inflammatory rhetoric. They waved signs saying, not welcome here, and chanted.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: (Chanting) No more hate. No more hate. No more hate. No more hate.

CORNISH: In another part of the program, we'll hear about President Trump's trip to El Paso. But we begin this hour with NPR's Joel Rose in Dayton.

And, Joel, first, what was the president's agenda there?

JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Well, the president and the first lady landed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base outside of Dayton. They were greeted by senators and local politicians, including the governor of Ohio and the mayor of Dayton. Then the president and the first lady visited Miami Valley Hospital. That's where he met with some of the people who were injured during the shooting over the weekend - also, with first responders and with medical staff at the hospital. All told, he was on the ground in Dayton for just under three hours.

CORNISH: There were some politicians, including the mayor there - the Democratic mayor - who were wary of the president's visit. So how did the politics play out on the ground?

ROSE: Well, the protesters were certainly out in force. Several hundred gathered outside of the hospital. Trump's visit inside was closed to the public. But as you note, he did make some remarks before he left Washington this morning, and those remarks were not lost on the crowd here, especially what the president said about white supremacism and antifa, which is an antifascist group. Trump condemned violent extremism in all forms.

CORNISH: We've been hearing about these protests. Can you talk more about how he was received in Dayton?

ROSE: Well, there were a few pro-Trump signs and flags in the mix here in Dayton, but they were clearly outnumbered by the president's opponents. Many said that Trump's divisive rhetoric played a role in these recent mass shootings. And let's hear a few of those voices now.

JOHN BAKER: The president himself is an extremist. Much of what comes out of his mouth is extreme, and it's objectionable to us.

PAULA KRAUS: All the shootings that have happened on the tails of his comments, I think, tell the story. And the increase in violence happening, increase in white nationalism - that's not a coincidence.

RICHARD COX: Even the FBI that he's over has said this has been fueled by white supremacy. And he's right in the middle of it, so he needs to watch what comes out of his mouth because what comes out of his mouth is calling the country divided, and it's also causing these mass shootings to go on.

ROSE: Those were Dayton residents John Baker, Paula Kraus and Richard Cox.

CORNISH: And, Joel, what have investigators learned so far about what was behind these two shootings?

ROSE: In El Paso, police believe that the alleged shooter penned an anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic manifesto. And Trump's critics would say that those words echo the president's own rhetoric. The president denies that his words had anything to do with the attack.

In Dayton, the police have not established a motive, although the president has raised the political affiliation of the shooter, who was killed by police. This morning, the president said he understood that the Dayton shooter supported Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as the antifa movement. But police here have not talked about the political leanings of the shooter in this case.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Joel Rose in Dayton.

Joel, thank you.

ROSE: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Joel Rose is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk. He covers immigration and breaking news.
More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.