On Saturday morning, dozens of people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a Walmart shopping centre in El Paso. The suspect was identified by police as 21-year-old white supremacist Patrick Crusius.
As Trump visited a local hospital to meet victims of the shooting on Wednesday, a large group of El Pasoans gathered at a nearby parking lot prior to his arrival to protest his visit. Protesters held signs claiming Trump has blood on his hands after the shooting and condemned his "hate speech."
Upon arrival, the president and First Lady Melania Trump were greeted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, and El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.
Meanwhile, the president’s arrival caused major road closures throughout the city, a Sputnik correspondent reported.
Democratic local leaders including presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar have blamed Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric for fueling the hate crime that led to a gunman travelling from Dallas to El Paso to carry out his shooting.
Earlier on Wednesday, Trump said he would "do something" about White Supremacy and other hate groups in the country.
Although politicians like O’Rourke and Escobar called Trump a racist following the incident, it appears El Pasoans mourning are trying to leave the politics out of it.
Earlier, Trump also visited Dayton, Ohio where a shooting incident killed nine people on Sunday. Police said they neutralized the shooter, identified as 24-year-old Conner Betts, who reportedly had supported progressive Democratic candidates including Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
The White House during both trips said media was not allowed into the hospitals because the president wanted to meet with the victims’ families. The trips were not about photo ops, a White House spokesperson said.