President Donald Trump, his press secretary and his director of social media accused Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, both of whom are Democrats, of misrepresenting the reception Trump received from shooting victims during his visit to a Dayton hospital.
Facts First: This is false. While both Brown and Whaley criticized Trump’s past rhetoric, they were only complimentary about his visit to the hospital.
At a press conference following their joint hospital visit with Trump, Brown said Trump was “received well by the patients,” was “comforting” and “did the right things.” At the press conference and in an interview with CNN, Whaley said victims were “grateful” to see Trump and that he was “treated well by the victims, for sure.”
Brown did call Trump and his past rhetoric “racist.” Whaley called Trump’s past rhetoric “divisive” and said it was good he did not visit the district where the shooting occurred because of local “anger” about him.
But neither of the two Democrats alleged that Trump was badly received at the hospital.
When Whaley was later shown the Trump tweet in which he accused her of “totally misrepresenting what took place inside of the hospital,” she responded, “I’m really confused.”
“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,” Whaley said in a video posted on Twitter by the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Here’s what happened
On Wednesday, Trump, Brown and Whaley all visited the Miami Valley Hospital in the wake of the Sunday massacre in which nine people plus the shooter were killed and at least 27 were injured. Journalists were not permitted to accompany the President, with press secretary Stephanie Grisham saying the visit was not intended as a “photo op.”
After Trump, Whaley and Brown left the hospital, Trump departed for El Paso, Texas, the site of a Saturday mass shooting, and Brown and Whaley held a press conference together. At 2:32 p.m., presidential aide Dan Scavino Jr., who serves as White House director of social media, lashed out at Brown and Whaley.
“Very SAD to see Ohio Senator Brown, & Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley - LYING & completely mischaracterizing what took place w/ the President’s visit to Miami Valley Hospital today,” Scavino tweeted. “They are disgraceful politicians, doing nothing but politicizing a mass shooting, at every turn they can…The President was treated like a Rock Star inside the hospital, which was all caught on video. They all loved seeing their great President!”
Grisham added to Scavino’s claim, telling CNN reporter Jeremy Diamond: “What I saw those two saying on TV immediately after we left was not what I saw in that hospital. The victims, families, medical staff and first responders were so happy to have their President and First Lady there. I just don’t know why that can’t be acknowledged. It’s disgusting.”
At 3:48 p.m., Trump himself tweeted a similar claim. After receiving “tremendous enthusiasm & even Love,” Trump wrote, he “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!” he said.
It’s unclear what Trump was referring to.
Asked at the press conference how Trump was received, Brown said, “He was received well by the patients, as you’d expect. They’re hurting.”
“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,” Brown said.
Brown said in a statement emailed to CNN in response to Trump’s criticism: “I’ve said before Donald Trump is a bully and bullies are cowards. I don’t care what he says about me. But the people of Dayton deserve a President more focused on protecting them from gun violence than protecting his own ego.”
Whaley, too, was only positive about the hospital visit in the press conference, saying, “I think the victims and the first responders were grateful that the President of the United States came to Dayton.”
She told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin in a separate interview that Trump’s visit was “really appreciated” by the victims and that he was “treated well.”