The unhinged left is crazed with criticism of a photo released by First Lady Melania Trump after a trip to El Paso this week. President Trump and Melania went to the hospital where eight surviving victims of the mass shooting at Walmart are recovering. No good deed goes unpunished, as the saying goes.
It’s more than a good deed for the president to visit with victims of horrific events like mass shootings, it is a part of his job to be the Consoler-in-Chief. It’s President Trump, though, so even this trip must be criticized by his opponents, especially those in the media. President Trump was giving a thumbs-up gesture in the photo and smiling so clearly he is a very, very bad Orange Man, at least in the minds of his critics. It may well be a bit unusual in this particular photo, but Trump frequently uses that gesture in photographs. It’s his thing. And, yes, he’s smiling but so are the others, even the baby if we’re honestly critiquing the shot.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 8, 2019
The photo is included in a montage from that day by the First Lady. She wasn’t featuring it as a separate photo, just a part of chronicling the day. She is holding baby Paul. The press is still going nuts over it. The narrative that is strong with them is that the eight victims in the El Paso hospital didn’t want a visit from Trump so he didn’t see them. Instead, he visited with staff and first responders and thanked them for their work. One family he did visit with was that of Jordan and Andre Anchondo. Andre’s brother Tito Anchondo, his sister, Deborah Ontiveros, and his baby Paul met the President Trump and First Lady Melania. They were invited to do so, as none were hospital patients. They were pleased to have the opportunity of a visit.
Tito is now dealing with the headlines and stories of that visit besides the grief of losing his brother and sister-in-law, the parents of baby Paul. Andre shielded Paul from the gunshots. He and Jordan were murdered but the baby survived with broken fingers. He didn’t want the visit to be about politics. As a matter of fact, his parents, baby Paul’s grandparents, turned down the White House invitation to meet with President Trump because they wish to remain private in their grief. Tito was interested in hearing from the president and trying to determine his sincerity. It turns out that Tito and his family are conservative Republicans and support President Trump. The family wants to leave politics out of their grief.
Tito Anchondo said he sought to meet the president to share his family’s grievous pain. “He was just there as a human being, consoling us and giving his condolences,” he said about Trump in an interview outside his family’s auto-body shop in south-central El Paso.
But Anchondo strongly rejects that view of the shootings and said he did not want the photo to be seen through a political lens. Anchondo previously told NPR that his family is Republican and his murdered brother had supported Trump.
The president “wasn’t there to be pushing any kind of political agenda,” he said, describing “a private conversation between human beings.”
Asked if he felt consoled by the conversation, he said, “Yes, definitely.”
Tito felt consoled. Trump did his job. There is no proof of any insincerity, no matter what you read in the press. As much as they want to make it about the people who chose not to meet with the president, there were those who did. To be honest, I don’t know that I’d want such big names visiting me in the hospital. I can understand those who wanted privacy away from cameras and photo ops. And, no doubt there are some who are recovering that are not Trump supporters. It serves no good purpose, though, for politicians and journalists to push the narrative that all of this death and destruction is because of President Trump. The Ohio mass murderer, for example, has a completely different personality profile than the El Paso murderer. No one holds Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders responsible. No one held Bernie Sanders responsible for the near-murder of Rep. Steve Scalise and other Republicans on the baseball field.
Of the smiles in the photograph, Tito asks a good question – what are they supposed to do? Never smile and try to carry on? They received a visit from the most powerful man on earth and the First Lady. It was an historic moment for them. Would the haters have preferred scowls and tears? It wouldn’t matter, you know. The criticism would be there either way.
“Is it that hard to try and understand that a family is trying to not be sad at a moment like this?” said Anchondo, who also appears in the photo along with his sister. “We’re trying to be as strong as we can. … My brother is gone.”
Imagine if President Trump and the First Lady hadn’t gone to Dayton and El Paso. They knew the press reports of the ginned up hateful statements put out by politicians and locals in special interest groups in both cities. The press egged them on and made headlines out of it all. It was a time for comforting victims and families of those who were injured or killed.