Grinning Trump gives thumbs-up with baby whose parents were shot dead in El Paso terror attack | The Independent

It is the sort of photo politicians have long been known to favour: adorable baby, thumbs-up, big smiles.

Few, however, would surely pose this way in such grave circumstances.

Donald Trump has sparked revulsion on social media after he was photographed grinning with a two-month-old child who was made an orphan during Saturday’s mass shooting in El Paso which left 22 people dead.

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The infant’s parents, Andre and Jordan Anchondo, were both killed in the supermarket massacre, while he himself suffered broken bones when Ms Anchondo fell on the child to shield him from further bullets.

But when the baby, called Paul, was brought to the US president at the University Medical Centre of El Paso, the 73-year-old appeared untouched by the child’s tragic plight. Both he and first lady Melania smiled for cameras, while the commander-in-chief also threw in a thumbs-up.

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El Paso mass shooting: 20 killed at Walmart store

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El Paso mass shooting: 20 killed at Walmart store

1/39 CCTV images of the gunman identified as Patrick Crusius

The 21 year old, as he entered the Cielo Vista Walmart store in El Paso. The gunman was armed with an assault rifle and opened fire on shoppers at a packed Walmart store, killing 20.

2/39 Law enforcement agencies respond

The Texas city’s police chief said the assault on a Walmart store on Saturday, which left another 26 people wounded, was being investigated as a potential hate crime.

4/39 FBI released a picture of gunman Patrick Crusius

The police officially identified the 21-year-old white male from Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb some 650 miles east of El Paso.

5/39 A woman reacts after the mass shooting

The attack came just minutes after a far-right manifesto appeared online. If authentic, it would make it the third mass shooting this year announced in advance on the website, which often features far-right and racist content.

6/39 Law enforcement responds to the active shooter

The racist four-page document, titled “The Inconvenient Truth”, calls the Walmart attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” and expresses support for the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year.

7/39

A shopper hiding with an old lady behind the return and exchanges counter as the shooting began.

8/39 Ambulances in the car park near the scene

It is ranked as the eighth-deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, after a 1984 shooting in San Ysidro, California, that claimed 21 lives.
Kendall Long (left) comforts Kianna Long (right) who was in the freezer section of Walmart.
People arrive at MacArthur Elementary looking for family and friends as the school is being used a re-unification centre.
Residents Erica Rios, 36, and Alma Rios, 61, cry outside a reunification centre.

19/39

People gather in Juarez, Mexico, in a vigil for the Mexican nationals who were killed.

21/39

Francisco Castaneda joins mourners taking part in a vigil at El Paso High School.
Presidential candidate and former congressman Beto O’Rourke, right, meets with mass shooting survivor, Rosemary, at University Medical Centre

23/39

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting.
Police cars parked below the Walmart sign block a road outside while investigating.
People take part in a rally against hate a day after a mass shooting at the Walmart store
Lupe Lopez holds a picture of a victim during a vigil for victims
Elsa Mendoza Marquez, a Mexican schoolteacher who was married and the mother of two adult children, was one of the victims
People with the Mexican flag and the US flag take part in a rally against hate a day
People raise their arms in the air during a vigil for victims
Women light candles at a make shift memorial at the site of a mass shooting
Adria Gonzalez (centre) who is being hailed as a hero for leading some Walmart customers to safety, speaks to the crowd

1/39 CCTV images of the gunman identified as Patrick Crusius

The 21 year old, as he entered the Cielo Vista Walmart store in El Paso. The gunman was armed with an assault rifle and opened fire on shoppers at a packed Walmart store, killing 20.

2/39 Law enforcement agencies respond

The Texas city’s police chief said the assault on a Walmart store on Saturday, which left another 26 people wounded, was being investigated as a potential hate crime.

4/39 FBI released a picture of gunman Patrick Crusius

The police officially identified the 21-year-old white male from Allen, Texas, a Dallas suburb some 650 miles east of El Paso.

5/39 A woman reacts after the mass shooting

The attack came just minutes after a far-right manifesto appeared online. If authentic, it would make it the third mass shooting this year announced in advance on the website, which often features far-right and racist content.

6/39 Law enforcement responds to the active shooter

The racist four-page document, titled “The Inconvenient Truth”, calls the Walmart attack “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas” and expresses support for the gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this year.

7/39

A shopper hiding with an old lady behind the return and exchanges counter as the shooting began.

8/39 Ambulances in the car park near the scene

It is ranked as the eighth-deadliest mass shooting in modern US history, after a 1984 shooting in San Ysidro, California, that claimed 21 lives.
Kendall Long (left) comforts Kianna Long (right) who was in the freezer section of Walmart.
People arrive at MacArthur Elementary looking for family and friends as the school is being used a re-unification centre.
Residents Erica Rios, 36, and Alma Rios, 61, cry outside a reunification centre.

19/39

People gather in Juarez, Mexico, in a vigil for the Mexican nationals who were killed.

21/39

Francisco Castaneda joins mourners taking part in a vigil at El Paso High School.
Presidential candidate and former congressman Beto O’Rourke, right, meets with mass shooting survivor, Rosemary, at University Medical Centre

23/39

From left, Melody Stout, Hannah Payan, Aaliyah Alba, Sherie Gramlich and Laura Barrios comfort each other during a vigil for victims of the shooting.
Police cars parked below the Walmart sign block a road outside while investigating.
People take part in a rally against hate a day after a mass shooting at the Walmart store
Lupe Lopez holds a picture of a victim during a vigil for victims
Elsa Mendoza Marquez, a Mexican schoolteacher who was married and the mother of two adult children, was one of the victims
People with the Mexican flag and the US flag take part in a rally against hate a day
People raise their arms in the air during a vigil for victims
Women light candles at a make shift memorial at the site of a mass shooting
Adria Gonzalez (centre) who is being hailed as a hero for leading some Walmart customers to safety, speaks to the crowd

Mrs Trump later posted the images on her Twitter account, alongside other images from the visit.

Other social media users were quick to criticise him for both his smile and the gesture. 

“This is not how a normal human being would interact with a baby that just lost his parents due to your own inaction,” defence analyst ​Brynn Tannehill wrote. “You would hold him and cry. Or at least keep the cameras away while you contemplate.”

Neuroscientist Bryan William Jones added: “I am genuinely confused and horrified by this image.  Am I taking this the wrong way? Why is Trump and Melania posing, GRINNING, and giving a thumbs up with the infant who’s parents were murdered by the shooter in El Paso. “Seriously… WTH is going on?”

Lawyer, Jamie O’Grady wrote: “I’m not sure I’ve even been as angry as I am right now. This photo op is disgusting.”

Donald and Melania Trump hold Paul, a baby made an orphan during El Paso supermarket shooting

The photo emerged as Mr Trump already faced criticism for his behaviour during his visit to the city on Thursday.

Doctors said he appeared to “lack empathy”, while he was filmed bragging to medical staff – who have spent the week dealing with the aftermath of the massacre – about the size of a rally he had previously held there.

“Then you had this crazy Beto [O’Rourke, Democrat presidential candidate],” he is heard adding in the mobile footage. “Beto had like 400 people in a parking lot.”

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The president also drew condemnation for not speaking to the press but instead releasing a highly-polished promotional-style video from his day. It also featured lots of thumbs-ups and smiling medical staff crowding for selfies with Mr Trump.

Little Paul, himself, it was later revealed, had been brought back to the hospital – reportedly at the request of White House staff – having been discharged days earlier.

All eight adult patients who were still at the medical centre refused to meet Mr Trump, The Washington Post reported.

Many in the city hold Mr Trump and his anti-immigration rhetoric partially responsible for the shooting: the suspected killer was a white supremacist who drove more than 10 hours to open fire on a store popular with Hispanic shoppers.

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But Paul’s family, themselves Hispanic, are, it seems, not among the president’s critics.

Speaking to NPR radio, Tito Anchondo, the child’s uncle, and brother of Andre Anchondo, said: “I think people are misconstruing President Trump’s ideas. My brother was very supportive of Trump.”

The boy’s grandfather told Spanish newspaper the family were ”very happy” with Mr Trump’s visit and that the president was ”kind and sympathetic”.