DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Protesters greeted President Donald Trump’s arrival in Dayton Wednesday, blaming his incendiary rhetoric for inflaming political and racial tensions in the country, as he visited survivors of last weekend’s mass shootings and saluted first responders.
The president and first lady Melania Trump began their visit at the hospital where many of the victims of Sunday’s attack were treated. Reporters travelling with the president were kept out of view, but White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham tweeted that the couple had “been stopping between rooms to thank the hardworking medical staff. Very powerful moments for all!”
Outside Miami Valley Hospital, at least 200 protesters gathered, hoping to send a message to the president that they want action on gun control. Some said he was not welcome in their city. There were Trump supporters, as well.
Some 85% of U.S. adults believe the tone and nature of political debate has become more negative, with a majority saying Trump has changed things for the worse, according to recent Pew Research Center polling.
And more than three quarters, 78%, say that elected officials who use heated or aggressive language to talk about certain people or groups make violence against those people more likely.
In Dayton, the anger and pain were on display as protesters chanted “Ban those guns” and “Do something!”– now a rallying cry around the city.
Holding a sign that said “Not Welcome Here,” Lynnell Graham said she thinks Trump’s response to the shootings has been insincere.
“To me he comes off as fake,” she said.