During a visit to Dayton Wednesday, President Donald Trump told survivors of Sunday’s mass shooting in the Oregon District “You had God watching.”
The president and first lady Melania Trump visited first responders, victims and hospital workers during a 2-hour-long visit to Miami Valley Hospital.
The president did not make any official comments during the trip. The president was kept away from reporters traveling with him. Miami Valley Hospital would not release the names of the patients the president met with.
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Nine people died Sunday after a gunman opened fire on Fifth Street in the Oregon District. More than 30 people were wounded in the shooting which is the worst mass shooting in Ohio history.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman and Congressman Mike Turner joined the Trumps as they visited the wounded.
Portman said the visit to to the hospital was “emotional” at times.
“It was emotional, of course, but it was also inspiring in the sense that agan they (patients) are doing better, and the attitude of the three individuals who were the most seriously wounded who are still there was positive,” Portman said.
“They were all very optimistic about their recovery, and that was heartening to see,” he added.
At the hospital, the president also met with about a dozen individuals who were in the Oregon District when Sunday morning’s shooting happened.
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“Some of them had slight injuries, some of them had no injuries, but he wanted to talk to people who were there that night as well,” Portman said.
Air Force One landed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base at around 11 a.m. and took off after 1 p.m. U.S. 35 and I-675 were closed temporarily as the motorcade traveled.
After his Dayton visit, the president went to El Paso where 22 people were killed at a mass shooting at a Walmart last week.
Miami Valley Hospital leaders said President Trump’s visit to the hospital was meaningful and emotional at times.
“It wasn’t about politics. It was our patients and acknowledging what they had been through and inquiring as to there emotional an physical well being,” said Mary Boosalis, president and CEO of Premier Health, which operates Miami Valley Hospital.
Boosalis said Trump’s visit was focused on patients and that they did not discuss policy.
“This was probably the first time since the event that both police, fire and the hospital teams came together,” said Mike Uhl, Miami Valley Hospital president. “They really appreciated the acknowledgement from our political leaders and the president and first lady of the heroic efforts that were taken that night.” Mike Uhl, Miami Valley Hospital president.
Whaley, Brown criticize Trump; He fires back
Mayor Whaley and Sen. Brown, both Democrats, held a press conference at Dayton City Hall after the president’s visit urging him to take action on gun control.
Brown met with the president Wednesday and urged him to call on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to have the Senate take up the background checks bill that passed the House.
“I asked the president to promise to me and the American people that he would sign that bill,” Brown said.
» PHOTOS: Candlelight vigil in Dayton after Oregon District shooting
Whaley said she emphasized to Trump “the importance of action around the issue of guns.”
On the flight from Dayton to El Paso, President Trump criticized Brown and Whaley for their comments.
Trump said they “misrepresented” what happened when Trump visited with shooting survivors and first responders Wednesday at Miami Valley Hospital.
Trump tweeted at about 3:50 p.m.: “Just left Dayton, Ohio, where I met with the Victims & families, Law Enforcement, Medical Staff & First Responders. It was a warm & wonderful visit. Tremendous enthusiasm & even Love. Then I saw failed Presidential Candidate (0%) Sherrod Brown & Mayor Whaley totally …misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital. Their news conference after I left for El Paso was a fraud. It bore no resemblance to what took place with those incredible people that I was so lucky to meet and spend time with. They were all amazing,” Trump concluded.
Whaley herself responded on Twitter, saying: "Not sure what the President thinks @SenSherrodBrown and I misrepresented. As we said, the victims and first responders were comforted by his presence. Let's hope he's not one of these all talk, no action politicians and actually does something on gun control. #DoSomething."
During her press conference, Whaley encouraged residents to do three things: Dine and shop in the Oregon District, donate to the Dayton Foundation, which has set up a fund for the shooting victims and urge Congress and the Ohio General Assembly to act.
Congressman Turner takes daughter to see president
U.S. Rep. Mike Turner took his daughter, Jessica, with him to meet the president Wednesday.
Jessica was in the Oregon District Sunday morning during the shooting.
On Wednesday, Turner doubled down in a press conference with reporters stating that he supports legislation that will limit magazines and ‘red flag’ legislation to take guns away from those police deemed dangerous to the community.
“I spoke to the president regarding issues of where to we go from here. I recommended to the president that we establish a Presidential Commission to look at legislative changes that could be adopted to make us safer,” Turner said. “There was a great deal of discussion about military weapons and what needs to be regulated or banned. The president was very interested in the status of prior legislation and why the legislation had lapsed.”
Turner said Trump had a significant conversation with Ohio’s two senators and indicated that he was going to talk to the Senate when he got back to the White House to see what might be possible to get passed and indicated that he supported Gov. Mike DeWine’s red-flag proposal.
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DeWine proposed a new version of a “red flag law” that the legislature has considered in the past. Red flag laws, also known as extreme protection orders, allow police or close family members to get a court order to remove firearms from someone who appears to be a danger to themselves or others.
“Also, we need magazine limits,” Turner said. “The fact that someone can walk down to the Oregon District with a magazine with 100 rounds is just unthinkable.”
He said there is some significant momentum to getting everybody on the same page in addressing a ban on assault style weapon and you can “hear it in the president’s tone.”
“He certainly does have my support to take very strong action,” Turner said. “And hopefully to make some changes.”