A spokesperson for University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, said none of the eight patients currently being treated for injuries from last weekend’s mass shooting agreed to meet with President Trump during his visit Wednesday, according to The Washington Post.
“This is a very sensitive time in their lives. Some of them said they didn’t want to meet with the president, some of them didn’t want any visitors,” UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke told the newspaper, although he added that two already-discharged victims returned to the hospital to meet with Trump.
The White House has touted what it said was a warm reception for the president Wednesday in both El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, the sites of a pair of mass shootings last weekend that left more than 30 dead and dozens injured.
“The love, respect & enthusiasm were there for all to see,” Trump tweeted Wednesday evening. He said “the Fake News worked overtime trying to disparage me and the two trips.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that the president and first lady Melania Trump were “received very warmly by not just victims and their families, but by the many members of medical staff who lined the hallways to meet them. It was a moving visit for all involved.”
The El Paso visit was particularly contentious, with many of Trump’s detractors drawing a line between the president’s rhetoric and the suspected gunman, who has been tied to a racist, anti-immigrant manifesto that spoke of a Hispanic “invasion” of the U.S., similar to comments Trump himself has used against migrants.
Presidential candidate and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), an El Paso native who left the campaign trail to return to his hometown after the shooting, has been particularly vocal in tying Trump’s rhetoric to that of the shooter and repeatedly saying Trump is not welcome in the city.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment on the hospital visit.