On Friday, President Donald Trump visited Parkland, Florida in the wake of a school shooting in a high school that left 17 people dead. But Trump has faced criticism over the way he carried himself during that visit.
After an awkward meeting with first responders, the president and first lady Melania Trump stood together for a friendly photo op, which in itself seems insensitive. Trump had a huge smile on his face in the photo, and flashed his now signature thumbs up.
Trump updated his Twitter cover photo with the picture from the meeting Friday evening.
Trump also visited Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach, where many of the victims received care after the shooting. On his official Instagram, a series of images posted in an album featured Trump wearing a large smile on his face, flashing a thumbs up in a photo with hospital staff.
FEBRUARY 16, 2018 Our entire Nation, with one heavy heart, continues to pray for the victims and their families in Parkland, Florida. To teachers, law enforcement, first responders and medical professionals who responded so bravely in the face of danger: We THANK YOU for your courage — and we are hear for you, ALWAYS! Our administration is working closely with local authorities to investigate the shooting and learn everything we can. We are committed to working with state and local leaders to help secure our schools, and tackle the difficult issue of mental health. God Bless You All — and THANK YOU!
The press asked Trump if he met with any victims at the hospital. Instead of speaking about the impact those meetings may have had on him as a president, as a human, Trump decided to fluff up the hospital.
"Fantastic hospital, and they have done an incredible job," Trump boasted. "The doctor was amazing, we saw numerous people and incredible recovery. And first responders — everybody — the job they've done was in incredible."
Trump then congratulated a doctor he was standing next to.
While yes, first responders and hospital staff should be thanked and praised for their hard work in wake of the shooting, congratulations here are completely tone deaf considering 17 people lost their lives in the attack.
In any other presidency, this would be a time for mourning. But Trump is using it to boast and brag.
Many were quick to criticize Trump for his demeanor on social media, with some pointing to Barack Obama's reaction to the Sandy Hook massacre in December of 2012. In 2016, Obama also delivered a powerful and emotional speech on gun violence, in which he broke down crying.
Trump has no emotions. He is shallow affect, psychotic. No one in their right mind would smile and give thumbs up in this situation. Real president vs fake president. Real sorrow vs photo op. Good vs evil. #ImpeachTrumpPence pic.twitter.com/WbEq7MFs6I
— Madeline, Washer of Brains (@ChicagoDungeon) February 17, 2018
Trump’s meeting with the first responders was a somber occasion to reflect on a national tragedy. It is now his twitter handle photo, in which he’s smiling with his thumbs up.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) February 17, 2018
Obama's official White House photographer, Pete Souza, who has made it his duty to criticize the Trump administration by way of his photography from the Obama era, uploaded a photo of Obama sitting alone in a classroom in Sandy Hook Elementary School. It captures the former president in a quiet moment after he met with families for hours, and before he attended a prayer vigil.
Dec. 16, 2012. Newtown. After meeting with families for hours, he sat alone in a classroom before attending a prayer vigil: “....This is our first task — caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged. And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we're all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I've been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We're not doing enough. And we will have to change.”
While it often seems like President Trump's actions couldn't be more shocking, this type of behavior is disgusting, and the heavy criticism is merited. There's a time for photo ops, and then there is time for mourning. This was not the moment for Trump to show off how great he's making America.
America has a real problem, and Trump isn't even trying to fake it.