Trump Criticized for Taking Pic with Orphaned El Paso Survivor, But Uncle Stands Up for President


It seems Donald Trump just can’t catch a break these days. The president is under fire by some establishment media outlets for smiling in a photograph, but now the people he was standing with are defending the commander in chief.

On Thursday, the president and first lady Melania Trump traveled to El Paso, Texas, to meet with hospital staff and victims of the mass shooting in the city Aug. 3 that killed 22. The visit was controversial from the start, with many liberal voices suggesting that Trump shouldn’t come.

It was clear that Trump would have been criticized regardless of whether he made the trip. Sure enough, after a photo of the first couple smiling with a family affected by the shooting circulated on social media, Trump was attacked online for apparently not being dour enough during the visit.

The outrage seemed to be focused on one picture in particular, where the first lady holds a baby left orphaned by the attack and the president gives a smile and a thumbs-up gesture. The baby’s aunt and uncle are on either side of the Trumps.

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“Twitter erupted in disgust at an image tweeted out by the FLOTUS account that showed her and President Trump broadly grinning — and with Trump inexplicably flashing a thumbs-up — while holding a two-month-old baby who lost both parents in the massacre,” wrote Evan Rosenfeld, a journalist with the liberal website Mediaite.

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That young child, Paul, was left an orphan after his parents, Andre and Jordan Anchondo, heroically shielded the infant from a hail of gunfire. The baby was injured but survived. His parents, sadly, did not.

But missing from the online outrage over the “thumbs-up” photo were are few key facts. The baby boy’s family is now defending Trump, and saying that they were eager to meet with the president, whom they support.

“Tito Anchondo, who lost his brother and sister-in-law in the El Paso, Texas, mass shooting last weekend, defended the decision to bring his now-orphaned, 2-month-old nephew to meet and take a picture with President Trump,” The Washington Examiner reported.

The boy’s uncle said the family, according to The Washington Post, “did not want the photo to be seen through a political lens.”

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When Anchondo, the brother of the boy’s late father, was asked by The Post if he felt consoled by the meeting with Trump, the man responded “yes, definitely.”

“[T]he relative with the child was kind and seemed to want a picture with the president,” the newspaper noted.

This seems to be yet another piece of exaggerated outrage from critics who see every single action by the president as flawed.

That isn’t surprising, but it would be nice if people would consider the full context before jumping to conclusions.

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Benjamin Arie is an independent journalist and writer. He has personally covered everything ranging from local crime to the U.S. president as a reporter in Michigan before focusing on national politics. Ben frequently travels to Latin America and has spent years living in Mexico.