DONALD TRUMP claimed to have had an ‘incredible afternoon’ after visiting the sites of two mass shootings, despite angry protests.
The US president tweeted that he met ‘great people’ on the trips to El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, where 31 people were killed in two massacres at the weekend.
He faced large protests from angry residents who demanded action on gun control and blamed his incendiary rhetoric for inflaming political and racial tensions across the country.
Afterwards, Mr Trump tweeted: ‘The Fake News worked overtime trying to disparage me and the two trips, but it just didn’t work.
‘The love, respect & enthusiasm were there for all to see. They have been through so much. Sad!’
Around 200 protesters gathered outside Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, while, in El Paso, Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke condemned Mr Trump as a racist instigator before a crowd of several hundred people.
Mr Trump and the White House have forcefully disputed the idea that he bears some responsibility for divisions in America. Meanwhile, more than 200 mayors, including two affected by the shootings in Texas and Ohio, are urging senators to act on gun safety legislation amid criticism that Congress is failing to respond.
In a letter to Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell and the Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, they wrote: ‘Our nation can no longer wait for our federal government to take the actions necessary to prevent people who should not have access to firearms from being able to purchase them.’
The mayors urged the Senate to vote on two bills already passed in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives to expand background checks for gun sales.
Dayton mayor Nan Whaley said: ‘There is no worse thing that can happen to a city. We cannot allow this tragic event to fade from our memories without taking action.
‘Politics has stood in the way of action for too long and, I can tell you, politics seems very petty when it is your friends and neighbours who are injured or dead.’
Mr Trump is publicly pushing for an expansion of background checks for firearms purchases. But Mr McConnell says that idea has little support among Republican senators.