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'Do something': Protesters greet Trump in Ohio as he visits mass shooting victims

The US President will visit El Paso later today.

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump met with victims of a mass shooting in Ohio today but protesters and opponents denounced what they say is his extremist rhetoric on race and immigration.

The president’s trip to Dayton, where nine people were gunned down over the weekend, was to be followed immediately after by a stop in the border city of El Paso, Texas, where 22 were murdered.

U.S.-WASHINGTON D.C.-TRUMP-FED President Donald Trump speaks to reporters before travelling to Dayton, Ohio, today. Source: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

In Dayton, Trump and his wife Melania spent most of their time meeting patients and staff at Miami Valley Hospital, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

Trump told shooting survivors, “you had God watching. I want you to know we’re with you all the way,” according to Grisham.

But Trump’s job of consoler in chief is complicated by charges that his own messaging – in particular his vilification of illegal immigrants – has emboldened political extremists.

Protesters gathered, holding signs that called for restrictions on gun buying and in one case simply demanding that politicians “Do something!” A Trump baby blimp made an appearance at the demonstration.

Ahead of the visit Dayton’s Democratic mayor Nan Whaley said she planned to tell Trump “how unhelpful he’s being.”

There were, however, other protesters expressing support for the Republican president, illustrating just how divided the country is ahead of next year’s elections.

Trump’s next stop in El Paso is likely to be even edgier.

There, a gunman who echoed Trump’s repeated use of the word “invasion” to describe illegal immigration, conducted his massacre at a Walmart store frequented by many Hispanic people.

Local Democratic congresswoman Veronica Escobar said she would not meet the president.

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Even the city’s Republican mayor offered only a grudging welcome, stressing icily that he would greet Trump in his “official capacity.”

Trump pushed back before leaving the White House this morning. “I think my rhetoric brings people together,” he said.

“My critics are political people, they’re trying to make points. In many cases they’re running for president,” the Republican told reporters.

© AFP 2019

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