WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday will visit El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, two cities scarred by mass shootings this weekend that left 31 people dead and dozens wounded.
Air Force One is scheduled to touch down first in Dayton, Ohio, where a gunman killed nine people early Sunday, then fly on to El Paso, Texas, where a lone gunman killed 22 on Saturday.
The White House did not release guidance on the trip’s specific venues, but the president can be expected to meet with first responders, talk to victims and their families and perhaps pay his respects at a memorial — similar to the visits he’s paid to other grieving communities including Parkland, Florida, and Las Vegas.
Three days after the Oct. 1, 2017 shootings in Las Vegas that left 58 dead, Trump visited University Medical Center in Las Vegas, where he met with patients recovering from their wounds and held a “heroes meet and greet” with first responders and civilians who helped them.
The White House held no public events Tuesday, a move that allowed Trump’s brief remarks on Monday in response to the mass shootings to stand alone. Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley told reporters the president was spending the day “meeting with staff on a wide range of policies, having conversations in prepping for his trip to these communities.”
In El Paso, some residents and local Democratic lawmakers urged Trump to stay away.
Earlier El Paso Mayor Dee Margo told reporters he understood why some residents would not want Trump to visit, “but we’re not dealing with that right now. We’re dealing with a tragedy.”
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley told reporters Tuesday that she would greet Trump out of respect for the office. She also said that “his rhetoric has been painful for many in our community, and I think people should be able to stand up and say they’re not happy if they’re not happy with his coming.”
Trump was not entirely quiet. He launched his Tuesday morning with a tweet that began, “Did George Bush ever condemn President Obama after Sandy Hook. President Obama had 32 mass shootings during his reign. Not many people said Obama is out of control.”
Gidley and Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway offered similar comments on Fox News and to reporters staked out by the West Wing.
“We would never dream of blaming Elizabeth Warren for the shooter who supports Elizabeth Warren,” Gidley said in reference to the Ohio shooter’s favorable tweets about Warren.