DAYTON, Ohio (FOX19) - President Donald Trump visited Dayton Wednesday, three days after a gunman killed nine people and injured 27 in a mass shooting in the city’s nightlife district.
Air Force One landed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base around 11:10 a.m. The President visited El Paso, Texas, where another mass shooter killed 22 people and injured dozens others at a Walmart Saturday.
Gov. Mike DeWine, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman greeted the president and First Lady Melania Trump at Wright-Pat.
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also was at the air force base to meet the president. He explained in a tweet he wrestled with the “right thing to do” when the president visited Dayton.
Brown said he decided “to look him in the eye and urge him to do the right thing.”
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday Trump has wanted to visit El Paso and Dayton since he learned of “these tragedies," the Associated Press reports.
Conway said the president usually meets with local and federal law enforcement, medical professionals and other emergency responders, according to the AP: “you can expect that he will continue to do that.”
Trump and the first lady left the air force base in an armored limousine with DeWine and his wife, Fran.
The motorcade proceeded to Miami Valley Hospital, where they entered the facility through the parking garage amid heavy police presence and a large protest.
Several shooting victims were treated at the hospital and some remain hospitalized there.
Officials at Miami Valley Hospital said Trump spent about two hours visiting with the remaining three patients and about 20 survivors of the Dayton shooting. The visit was about patient, not politics, they said.
The event was closed to the media, with the White House press secretary tweeting out a few details.
After, Trump left Dayton without making public remarks and headed to El, Paso.
Shortly after, he tweeted out photos and a video.
Dayton’s mayor and Brown, meanwhile, held a press conference at City Hall.
“He was received well by the patients, as you’d expect. They’re hurting," Brown said of Trump at the hospital. “He was comforting. He did the right things and Melania did the right things. And it’s his job in part to comfort people. I’m glad he did it in those hospital rooms."
Whaley also echoed those remarks.
“I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the President of the United States came to Dayton," she said.
Brown also called Trump and his past rhetoric “racist,” and the mayor said it was "divisive.
She also said it was good he didn’t go to the Oregon District where the shooting occurred because of local “anger” about him.
Both Brown and Whaley they said spoke with the president but were not sure he would heed their warnings about guns and the need for stronger controls.
"I think he heard me. I don't know if he will take action. I'm hoping for the people of Dayton that he does," the mayor said.
Brown said: “We can’t get anything done in the Senate because Mitch McConnell and the president are in bed with the gun lobby.”
Shortly after Whaley and Brown’s news conference, presidential aide Dan Scavino Jr., White House director of social media, criticized them on Twitter.
Then Trump fired off a couple tweets:
When Whaley was later shown Trump’s tweet, she said: “I’m really confused," according to a video posted on Twitter by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
“We said he was treated really well. I don’t know what you could talk about misrepresenting, so. Oh well, you know. He lives in his world of Twitter,” she said.
While Trump was in Dayton, rallies were held in the Oregon District and near the hospital. The one near the hospital was to demand he "work toward a responsible gun policy and end his divisive inflammatory rhetoric,” according to a news release from a group called “Dayton Women.”
Before he left Washington D.C. for Dayton Wednesday, Trump tweeted about the Dayton shooter’s politics.
Dayton’s mayor had said Tuesday she would welcome the president. She also urged people to protest his visit and she plans to discuss with him concerns about firearms and the importance of background checks and a ban on assault weapons.
Authorities revealed new, disturbing new revelations earlier this week about the shooter, Connor Betts, 24.
The FBI is now investigating Betts’ motivation and the El Paso gunman’s amid wider alarm over the attacks.
Dayton’s mayor said the president’s “rhetoric has been painful for many in our community and I think people should stand up and say they are not happy if they are not happy he’s coming."
Whaley also said she didn’t think his stance on firearms has been very helpful and she didn’t think he knows what he believes in when it comes to the issue.
She wasn’t expected to be the only one giving Trump an earful Wednesday.
Republican congressman who represents Dayton, Mike Turner, said he also plans to discuss gun control measures with the president.
Turner, who daughter was nearby when the gunman opened fire, announced Tuesday he backs a ban on “military-style” guns, magazine limits and so-called “red flag” legislation to identify potentially dangerous people and remove their firearms under a court order.