President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump on Wednesday visited victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in the Oregon District.
“You had God watching. I want you to know we’re with you all the way,” Trump said to one of the victims, Press Secretary Stephanie Graham later told the press.
Media was not allowed to be with the president and first lady as they visited victims.
“We will be meeting with first responders, law enforcement and some of the victims,” President Trump said Wednesday.
The president and first lady were “stopping between rooms to thank the hardworking medical staff,” Graham said.
Air Force One landed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base around 11 a.m. sparking road closures on U.S. 35 and I-675. The motorcade left Miami valley Hospital at around 1:14 p.m.
When asked about comments Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and political leaders in Texas made about his “rhetoric” on guns, the president said “they are trying to make political points.”
Trump spoke to Whaley as he got off of Air Force One at the base. The mayor and Sen. Sherrod Brown plan to talk about the visit later today.
President Trump said when he talked to Mayor Whaley right after the shooting, the conversation “couldn’t have been nicer.”
Mayor Whaley said she will greet the president, but said his “rhetoric has been painful for many in our community and I think people should stand up and say they are not happy if they are not happy he’s coming,” Whaley said.
Several people gathered Tuesday afternoon at City Hall to protest the president’s visit.
“Look, I have no sense of what’s in President Trump’s mind at all, right?” she said. “I can only hope that as president of the United States he’s coming here because he wants to add value to our community, and he recognizes that that’s what our community needs.”
President Trump on Wednesday said the blame for the Dayton and El Paso shootings belong on the shooters.
“These are sick people,” Trump said. He said he is going to meet with Congress and “come up with something that’s going to be really good.”
“I’m looking to do background checks,” Trump said. “I don’t want to put guns in the hands of mentally ill people.
President arrives at Wright-Patterson
Air Force One touched down around 11 a.m. at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife Fran were the first in line to meet the president on the tarmac. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman met the president and first lady as they got off of the plane.
Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton, also met them as they got off of the plane. His daughter, Jessica joined him. She was in the Oregon District when the shooting happened Sunday morning.
DeWine, Whaley speak out on president’s visit
“I think it’s always appropriate for a governor or the president to go where there is sorrow, to go where people are hurting. My understanding of the visit is that’s what it’s focused on,” DeWine said Tuesday in Columbus during an address unveiling proposals to fight gun violence.
Accompanying the president during his stop at Miami Valley Hospital were Mary Boosalis, president Premier Health, Mike Uhl, president Miami Valley Hospital, and Mikki Clancy, Chief Operating Officer Miami Valley Hospital.
Some military officials from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base are also with the president including Gen. Arnold Bunch, commander of the Air Force Materiel Command; Lt. Gen. Robert mcMurry, commander Air Force Life Cycle Management Center; and Col. Thomas Sherman, commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich was in the Oregon District this morning.
Congressman Mike Turner, R-Dayton, said he plans to discuss the shooting with President Trump during his visit.
“This tragedy must become a catalyst for a broader national conversation about what we can do to stop these mass shootings. I look forward to continuing this debate with my colleagues in Congress, as well as discussing these measures with the President during his trip to Dayton,” Turner said.
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, was with Trump Wednesday.
“This was an unspeakable tragedy and our focus should be on helping the community heal. Rob looks forward to joining the president on his visit,” Portman spokesperson Emily Benavides said.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, originally said he would not meet with the president during his visit to Dayton, but tweeted Wednesday morning that he had changed his mind.
“I wrestled with the right thing to do when Trump visits Dayton today. I decided I have a responsibility to look him in the eye and urge him to do the right thing,” Brown said.
Some members of the Dayton community protested President Trump’s visit to the area after the mass shooting in the Oregon District.
Megan Fiely said she and another activist decided to put on the protest Tuesday after the mass shooting two days ago, and she said the president is not welcome in Dayton. The group protested in front of Dayton City Hall.
“The city needs to heal right now. We are so stressed,” Fiely said. “We’re not a photo opportunity for Trump.”
The group of about 50 protesters wanted Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley to tell the president not to visit the city.
The group gathered chanted “do something,” hoping those inside city hall would take notice.
“Gun violence messed with the wrong town,” Fiely said. “Dayton, Ohio, will be the town to fix this.”
Assistant Police Chief Matt Carper said the details of the president’s visit are not finalized.
Asked at a press conference at City Hall if the city was ready for Trump’s visit, Carper said the city was prepared.
“We are always ready for any kind of dignitary assignment,” Carper said.
Thank you for reading the Dayton Daily News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Dayton Daily News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.