, 27 tweets, 14 min read Read on Twitter
1/ A photographic look at the Trump visit to University Medical Center in #ElPaso. He visited there after the 7th worst #massshooting in US history. Targeting #Latinos, the attack killed at least 22 and injured 26. Pictures from Dayton included.
2/ Trump is vilified by many in El Paso for his border war, and his venom and prejudice appears to have helped inspire a white nationalist to target Latinos and commit mass murder. He planned to visit hospitalized survivors, but none would meet with him. So, what to do?
3/ What Trump is accomplished at is flipping the script. In a remarkable cache of 40 pictures on its Flickr feed, the @WhiteHouse bombarded the media and social media with exclusive images of his #ElPaso visit after excluding the press from covering it.
4/ And that’s not counting another 16 photos of Trump at the hospital regaling law enforcement and “first responders.”
5/ The @WhiteHouse did manage to recall a small number of the injured back to the hospital who were willing to meet with him. This unnamed woman was one. (photo: Shealah Craighead/White House.)
6/ Because the number of survivors willing to return was so scarce, however, the @WhiteHouse #photographers and #videographers worked every angle. This survivor and her family alone earned six pictures.
7/ Given the wheelchair and the hospital bracelet, you would hardly know this woman actually returned to the medical center. The agenda is clear though as the youngster who scored the MAGA hat eyes one camera while another looms in the hallway. (Shealah Craighead/White House)
8/ Mostly though, Trump turned the ward, and the aftermath of the massacre, into a paparazzi moment and a mini-rally with hospital staff. Unfortunately, a cell phone video of Trump bragging about his popularity also got out. (Shealah Craighead/White House).
9/ Before the day was even over, the @WhiteHouse produced and posted a rollicking campaign-style video with rousing music to glorify the visit. Every mindful of controversy, this tweet from the WH Director of Social Media set their priorities straight.
10/ But stated or unstated, what underlined the visit to #ElPaso and #Dayton was Trump’s divisive policies, his winks-and-nods to #whitenationalism, and the fallout. Billed as support, the trip was more damage control.
11/ That effort started Monday at the White House as Trump denounced bigotry in response to the attacks. With so much focus on gun violence and Trump’s machinations though, it seems the hate itself was downplayed.
12/ But the xenophobia was omnipresent. With the nation still in shock, Trump’s visit to El Paso and Dayton occurred the same day as a massive ICE raid on a Mississippi factory separated dozens of migrant children from their parents.
13/ Trump's day started in Dayton. Hours after the El Paso shooting, a gunman killed 10 there. Talking ethnicity & race, 6 of the 8 killed were black in a district 40% black. Random or not, Trump took hospital photos with 3 Dayton survivors, all white. (Andrea Hanks/White House)
14/ By the way, notice Ohio’s GOP Sen. Portman, among others. Fixed in a glare, he don’t seem comfortable at all with the Trump mercy caravan. (Andrea Hanks/White House)
15/ In El Paso though, Latino children were clearly used as props. As the @WhiteHouse captured these children in the advancing hands of the First Lady, you could call it a PR version of family separation. (Andrea Hanks/White House)
16/ Which brings us to the most concerning visual of all: the Trump’s use of the infant, Paul Anchondo. The photo circulated widely but the backstory, not as much.
17/ The Anchondo story became know almost immediately after the massacre. The wife’s brother and sister were interviewed by CNN on the 5th, two days after the shooting.
18/ Tito Anchondo, the slain father’s brother, sat down with NPR 2 days later. Describing the family as conservative and pro-Trump, he made an appeal for a meeting. He said he wanted to see if Trump was genuine, shared his pain, and felt remorse for statements that he's made.
19/ Complicating things further, Vibora Anchondo, the slain father’s sister, lashed out at “monstrous” and “evil” Texas Democratic Representatives the day before Trump’s visit for telling the press he wasn’t welcome.
20/ On Wednesday, a hospital employee tipped off CNN that Paul was coming in. CNN rode the story hard throughout the day. Still, seeing nothing posted that night, we doubted the White House would use the picture.
21/ Then Melania posted it to her social media on Thursday morning. Clearly, the White House had jumped at the opportunity.
22/ Late Thursday evening, the photo showed up with 21 new images posted to WH Flickr. Of all the family photos from El Paso, the Achonda’s earned the most, a full six pictures. (Andrea Hanks/White House)
23/ Across the 6, you can see how much the Trumps fetishized the infant. Upon meeting Paul, you'd expect the Trumps, or anyone else, would be filled with grief for the baby, the dead parents, and the unspeakable horror. But there's no hint of that whatsoever. (Andrea Hanks/WH.)
24/ Melania’s concern for the hand and the close up of the bandage are telling. These photos serve to separate the physical from the emotional. The Trumps are concrete like that. The surface becomes everything. (Andrea Hanks/White House)
25/ Photographs of Trump being photographed are staples of this White House. The tone here is striking though, as the solemness of the grandparents is offset by Tito's and Vibora’s smile. If partly partisan, Trump's need to be mirrored is the greater reason. (Andrea Hanks/WH)
26/ Notice how Tito’s shirt, sporting family business where he works w his father, disappears into Trump. They didn’t take one day off after the tragedy because they need the income. As much as Tito yearns to connect with Trump, he might as well be invisible. (Andrea Hanks/WH)
27/ Finally, no matter that Paul turns away, possession is all. Even better is Trump’s “thumbs up” in contrast with Paul’s damaged hand. What excruciating irony—Paul, superficially wounded, but altered for life as the result of Trump’s signaling. (Andrea Hanks/WH)
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