On Friday, President Donald Trump visited Parkland, Florida in the wake of a school shooting in a high school that left 17 people dead. But Trump has faced criticism over the way he carried himself during that visit.
After an awkward meeting with first responders, the president and first lady Melania Trump stood together for a friendly photo op, which in itself seems insensitive. Trump had a huge smile on his face in the photo, and flashed his now signature thumbs up.
Trump updated his Twitter cover photo with the picture from the meeting Friday evening.
Trump also visited Broward Health North hospital in Pompano Beach, where many of the victims received care after the shooting. On his official Instagram, a series of images posted in an album featured Trump wearing a large smile on his face, flashing a thumbs up in a photo with hospital staff.
The press asked Trump if he met with any victims at the hospital. Instead of speaking about the impact those meetings may have had on him as a president, as a human, Trump decided to fluff up the hospital.
"Fantastic hospital, and they have done an incredible job," Trump boasted. "The doctor was amazing, we saw numerous people and incredible recovery. And first responders — everybody — the job they've done was in incredible."
Trump then congratulated a doctor he was standing next to.
While yes, first responders and hospital staff should be thanked and praised for their hard work in wake of the shooting, congratulations here are completely tone deaf considering 17 people lost their lives in the attack.
In any other presidency, this would be a time for mourning. But Trump is using it to boast and brag.
Many were quick to criticize Trump for his demeanor on social media, with some pointing to Barack Obama's reaction to the Sandy Hook massacre in December of 2012. In 2016, Obama also delivered a powerful and emotional speech on gun violence, in which he broke down crying.
Obama’s reaction to slaughtered American children was tears.
Trump’s reaction to slaughtered American children was a smile and a thumbs up.
Another jarring juxtaposition. pic.twitter.com/LgDMaFZ8dP
— eli friedmann (@eligit) February 17, 2018
Apparently school shootings get a thumbs up! 👍👍 pic.twitter.com/ZVYy1MEXPw
— Dan Sterling (@dansterl) February 17, 2018
Trump has no emotions. He is shallow affect, psychotic. No one in their right mind would smile and give thumbs up in this situation. Real president vs fake president. Real sorrow vs photo op. Good vs evil. #ImpeachTrumpPence pic.twitter.com/WbEq7MFs6I
— Madeline, Washer of Brains (@ChicagoDungeon) February 17, 2018
Trump’s meeting with the first responders was a somber occasion to reflect on a national tragedy. It is now his twitter handle photo, in which he’s smiling with his thumbs up.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) February 17, 2018
The President’s Twitter background is now a picture of him smiling with a thumbs up, next to the cops who arrived to the scene of 17 murdered teachers and students.
See it for yourself: @realDonaldTrump
— Travis Allen 🌊 (@TravisAllen02) February 17, 2018
True to form, trump tweets out huge smiles all around and thumbs up. In contrast, Obama shows real empathy in times of tragedy pic.twitter.com/f9k7X1ZDES
— ❄️Lorena🌊 (@Lorenalouisefor) February 17, 2018
Obama's official White House photographer, Pete Souza, who has made it his duty to criticize the Trump administration by way of his photography from the Obama era, uploaded a photo of Obama sitting alone in a classroom in Sandy Hook Elementary School. It captures the former president in a quiet moment after he met with families for hours, and before he attended a prayer vigil.
While it often seems like President Trump's actions couldn't be more shocking, this type of behavior is disgusting, and the heavy criticism is merited. There's a time for photo ops, and then there is time for mourning. This was not the moment for Trump to show off how great he's making America.
America has a real problem, and Trump isn't even trying to fake it.