The mayor of Dayton welcomed President Trump’s visit to the wounded city on Wednesday but is skeptical he will heed calls to back tougher gun legislation.
Mayor Nan Whaley said she “wasn’t holding my breath” for Trump to break the Republican blockade against new gun restrictions even after the weekend bloodbaths in Dayton and El Paso.
“Too often we see complete inaction because they’re waiting just for time, for people to forget that nine people died in Dayton because of a gun that … shouldn’t be legal,” said Whaley, a Democrat.
Whaley and S
en. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pointedly asked Trump to take action on guns when they greeted him at the city’s airport and accompanied him to meet with wounded victims and first responders at a local hospital.
“I want you to know we’re with you all the way,” Trump told victims, according to White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.
A small crowd of protesters demonstrated against Trump’s visit outside the hospital. Larger crowds gathered near the scene of the shooting in the downtown Oregon district.
Whaley said she was glad Trump did not stoke more division by confronting the protesters downtown.
“A lot of people … in that district aren’t interested in the president being there,” she said. “His talk can be very divisive and that’s the last thing we need in Dayton.”
Brown said he emphasized to Trump the need to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on a bill that would stiffen universal background checks for gun-buyers.
The Ohio liberal bristled at a question suggesting that both parties are to blame for the impasse over guns, saying Republicans and their allies in the National Rifle Association have stubbornly blocked any new measures.
“We can’t get anything done in the Senate because Mitch McConnell and the president of the United States are in bed with the gun lobby,” Brown said.